All has perished: equilibria, righteous actions, the notions of “the middle way”, “in medio stat virtus”, “the beginning, middle and end”, and “within bounds”. The autopsies revealed that it was by an overdose of a poorly seasoned coherence. It is not clear whether the tragedy happened a long time ago or just a moment ago, as well as it is not unlikely that the reports of the autopsies are not as dead as its objects and by the same causes. We only know that Western modernity was born poorly seasoned and therefore deprived of equilibria. It sought to disguise this deprivation with imbalances that supposedly neutralise or compensate (the killing of Native Americans and infinite wealth accumulation; the saving of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans; unlimited resource exploitation and destruction of nature; extensive work and extensive unemployment; hunger and obesity; eternity and lack of time; restlessness and anxiolytics; accumulated fatigue and beauty creams; sedentariness and gymnasium; remote control and near chaos). As no one knows when or how all this happened and one cannot even rely on the autopsies, perhaps the only enlightening solution is an overdose that worked as an antidote, a poison administered blindly with the intent of releasing some light. This is Mário Vitória’s project.
Humanity in Mário Vitória is an amalgamation of human, sub-human and non-human splinters thrown into a chaotic landfill where no one can be saved even if they tried. The turbulence of scales, the collapse of expectations, the interruption of the narrative, the ecology of dissonant genres, and the disembowelment of order are the instruments used at the service of Mário Vitória’s expertise. The same expertise he uses to say no to the tradition that brought him here, and to say yes to everything else, not sure if the rest is still past or already future. Therefore, it is also an amalgamation of absences that become apparent to the naked eye: Goya, Dali, Almada, Alice-in-Wonderland, Bacon, Brecht, Quixote, Schuiten and a thousand of other comic strips; all broken into a dissolute pleasure, the pleasure of finally being what they always wanted to be and could never be while they were, whatever that was. All far beyond the “just cannot take the eyes out” because there are no heads, at least heads in place of heads or functioning as such.
Mário Vitória’s obsessions are as seductive as destructive. They are the proof that art is the only place in Western modernity where the imbalances are balanced. You have to be inhumanly strong to enter the world of Mário and come out of it alive. You must be inhumanly weak to not want to enter the world of Mário for fear of not getting out alive. You must be humanly human to neither have the option to enter (because one has always been there) nor the option to leave (because one does not leave when there is no place to go). But do not dare to forget that you are a splinter, and to splinters you will return.
Mário is an MC, a master of ceremonies, not only for rappers but also to receive ambassadors and other futilities with charm. He is an expert usher of insanities; he presents them in such incessant series that they seem more like separate normalities wandering through the underground shopping centres. He ushers insanities where the authorities do not allow them, certain that they will survive the latter as the world survives us all. But only we do not survive ourselves. And that Mário also knows. For this reason, he delivers art to the gigantic task of allowing himself to escape his own obliteration while painting and drawing.
Western modernity will still regret of having given birth to an artist of this calibre.
translated by Ana Andrade
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, April 2013