The Human Circus of MárioVitória

Mario Vitória’s paintings seem to be magnificent announcements for the show of life. In his compositions there is a splendour which one expects to see on an advertisement, in a story to sell, ensuring incredible hilarious or horror adventures in which men and animals are struggling between caresses and attacks. This is what I mainly perceive of what the painter presents, because there is no peace in the human condition in which he paints.On the contrary, he establishes a permanent crisis, strongly supported on the movement and underlined for being a master ironist, which I immediately confess in the titles he adopts.

“To enjoy the breach, the rule needs to be inviolable” (Para gozar a violação é necessário que a regra seja inviolável), is the title of one of his paintings, which concisely establishes with its audience a pact with subversion, constantly dealing with a non-correspondence with the expected, and substantially meeting a darker side of humour, undermining moral precepts, and ultimately calling for a fundamental artistic freedom.

Mário Vitória’s art is made of extrapolation and exaggeration, being a true and narrative image of a dream or a nightmare, given its delusional aspect. It is through the combination of diverse elements and figures that he reaches the visually explosive outcome of his work. It is perhaps the most immediate feature of what he does: the explosion. Sometimes, extremely sharp, having a concentric point where everything seems to emanate, and the colouring as if ripped into rays, which intrudes in the design, alludes to that typical dispersion of what suddenly shocks.

The painting “Always through the same door” (Em todo o caso sempre pela mesma porta) emphasizes the ever present aspect of social criticism. It is clear that Mário Vitória, however much exaggeration, dream or explosive force, has a dysphoric vision of the human being unable to believe in the “noble savage”. Through this door all will enter, perhaps naively, to a socially expected standardization, turning like little soldiers, undifferentiated, marching neatly as dolls, being this fear one of the most recurrent topics of contemporary consciousness.

For the always-violent portrait of men and animals, the painter uses an aggressive design, making the blend between the individual apparently more sensitive, or naive, with the imminent danger. Among children, women or the elderly, there may be the spectre of death, in the same way as lions or whales may be hovering, always seeming to announce the doom of the unwary. It is in this perversion that lies the hardest aspect of these paintings, as an ineluctable destiny about to be fulfilled. We are forced to witness the moment when the narrative of a life is resolved, defined; when it acquires its maximum uniqueness, which ultimately brings us all back to the unexpected and ephemerality tragedy. In these paintings we are led by the hand – because we are deeply seduced with the fanciful and even children’s tale aspect – to face the perishable of all things, the perishable man. Here, the man is as in his maximum circus, the place where any philosophy will aid him by exception, and emerge him with contempt facing the animals so, with them, measure the forces, resemble, differentiate, die.

Mário Vitória’s stories are the most accomplished of our current art, cleverly regaining mastery of design and relevance of topics. What he accomplishes is a highly characteristic result that among many proposals of so many artists, stands out as a unique signature and by far so necessary. All to ensure that painting is still done with mastery and impetus haste.

translated by Ana Andrade


Valter Hugo Mãe, March 2008