Vitória*, a Difficult Goddess

Mário carries a demanding name. Applied to warfare, Vitória, after all, is the obsession of all existence. War is an extreme metaphor of the game of Life and the result is always Death. But it can also be a metaphor for the demanding game of Painting where we know Death is called Oblivion. Mário fights thus an unequal combat. However, he also knows that he fights in the only ground on which one can beat Death, when it is replaced by the name of Memory…

Mário allows us to guess, in large figurative compositions in which he organizes, the vocation of a director of crowds in action, a designer of battles, an energetic light designer, a director of severe actors, a delirious costume designer.

Retaining the masses from the bodies to later drop them over the empty stages and the immensity of heavens or isolating the figures in scenes where they exhibit the fixity of statues, playing with colour and shadow, with the forms and backgrounds, with the cut-outs and the volumes; he is a man in his Theatre of the World.

But the means stated and that he uses are of a painter that, isolated in his studio, convenes the World to decisive and always repeated confrontations. The images that provoke us guarantee the heroic breath with which the first civilizations placed the great themes of humanity: power and defeat, friendship and betrayal, love and hate, wealth and poverty, the inner journey and the knowledge of others, body and soul, invention and denial, life and death. The history of these paintings, because they are narrative paintings, does not exist as difference neither as novelty, but as it resumes. Time is not linear but circular. Reality is not different from Dream or more likely than it. What is above is the same as what is below.

Using different scales for each zone or figure of painting or drawing, painting so preciously but strong, using colour with complete freedom, Mário Vitória arranges his elements: small plastic dolls and still-life fruits, ancient warriors and figures of strip cartoons, nudes and shades of guardian animals, red skies and distant horizons, angels and war machines, quotes of historical painting and objects of everyday life. With all this the artist builds a public vocation and mural, polyphonic and metaphorical painting: a vortex that engulfs us to its interior, showing us what we can not know or see; or, like the sails of a windmill, a painting raises us, throws us to the ground (to lift us up again, and again to throw us back), showing us what we do not want to see. We have seen that it is all about achieving, through painting, Vitória over Oblivion and Death.

(*Translator’s note: Vitória, the artist’s name is the Portuguese word for Victory and the Roman Goddess Victoria)

translated by Ana Andrade

João Pinharanda, November 2012