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Posted by portugalpress on September 18, 2017
Fernanda Guerra, cultural director of Associação Casa Álvaro de Campos
Tavira artist Isabel Macieira – “I started the work with a lot of colour, but then realised the simplicity of black ink said more about the quotations”
Matthijs Warner – “My work is about finding happiness and the removal of the ego”

Tavira is one of the few places visited by Portugal’s most famous writer, Fernando Pessoa. His family, on his father’s side, hail from this city of beauty and culture. His most prominent heteronym, Álvaro de Campos, was “born” on October 15, 1890 at 1.30pm, in this uncommon place set alongside the river Gilão.

The Festa dos Anos de Álvaro de Campos (in English, Birthday Party for Álvaro de Campos), organised by Partilha Alternativa, begins October 1 and runs until the end of November. Artists, authors and associations will celebrate the unique talent of this heteronym and also share and further what is known about Fernando Pessoa. Pessoa is said to have created up to 160 different heteronyms.

In 2015, Tela Leão created the association Partilha Alternativa, marking the first Birthday Party for Álvaro de Campos. Tela has developed a broad partnership with other associations and local artists to enable the birthday party to continue. Since 2016, the party has enjoyed support for publicity from Casa Fernando Pessoa in Lisbon and has been part of the 365 Algarve programme. This year, the programme will involve the participation of about 30 organisations from Tavira and many more artists.

I plan to follow the preparations and let readers know more about the many activities of the Birthday Party for Álvaro de Campos.

This week, Tela and I visited the Associação Casa Álvaro de Campos, one of the participants, to see the preparations for the exhibition “In Citations” (In Quotes) by Isabel Macieira and Matthijs Warner, which will happen in its gallery this year.

Fernanda Guerra, President of the Board for the Associação Casa Álvaro de Campos, told us: “The association began in 1987 and so 2017 marks our 30th year of activities. Álvaro is unique, a clone of Pessoa, and perhaps more like a regular person than the other heteronyms."

According to a description by his creator Fernando Pessoa, Álvaro de Campos had a normal school education, later being sent to Scotland to study engineering, first mechanical and then naval. He was taught Latin by his uncle, a priest. He was vaguely Jewish-Portuguese with pale olive skin, straight hair, usually side parted and wore a monocle.

In 2010, for the 120th anniversary of the “birth” of Álvaro, the association held the first international meeting led by Professor Teresa Rita Lopes, from the Department of Studies on Modernism of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Universidade de Lisboa. Based on the presentations from the symposium, the book Álvaro de Campos an Engineer from Tavira was produced (copies in Portuguese are available from the association shop).

Associação Casa Álvaro de Campos operates a café where refreshments are available for those wanting to relax and enjoy books and displays. They also organise author readings. Downstairs is a large exhibition and meeting room, and outside there is a garden.

Fernanda continued: “We use this space for cultural events and exhibitions. For the Birthday Party this year, we will be hosting an exhibition by two Tavira-based artists, Isabel Macieira and Matthijs Warner.”

The artists have created visual work and will invite visitors to consider quotations from poems by Álvaro de Campos and work by Pessoa. Both artists have reflected on quotes that resonate with them and have developed work that conveys their process.

Isabel has painted black text, similar to Chinese calligraphy, on 10 long, white, joined up computer paper. Alongside the text is imagery drawn in blue ink on 10 other long strips of paper. The imagery is of hands, faces and body movements. She said: “As I painted, the thought came to me of crooked lines and how one loves by memory. I started the work with a lot of colour, but then realised the simplicity of black ink said more about the quotations.”

She has also produced one large painting in ethereal light blue with etchings across the piece of body imagery and movement.

In Matthijs Warner’s four-piece work, he considers the non-duality of life. He said: "Humans create duality, a separate self from everything. My work is about finding happiness and the removal of the ego.” His computer-generated drawings filled with quotes and thoughts are all giclée prints. One on a grey background simply says: “Let the game happen on its own. Be still. Mind is a myth.”

Here are a few examples of the quotes that have inspired the exhibition.

Querendo, quero o infinito
Desiring, I desire infinity
Fernando Pessoa

Começo a conhecer-me. Não existo.
I begin to know myself. I don't exist.
Álvaro de Campos

Ama-se por memória.
One loves through memory
Álvaro de Campos

Existir é estar desatento.
Existing means not paying attention.
Álvaro de Campos

Nem tudo o que é ouro é luz.
Not all gold glitters.
Álvaro de Campos

Ser forte é ser capaz de sentir.
To be strong is to be able to feel.
Álvaro de Campos

Quanto fui, quanto não fui, tudo isso sou.
How much I was or how much I was not, all of this I am.
Álvaro de Campos

Viver é desencontrar-se consigo mesmo.
To live is to fail to meet yourself.
Álvaro de Campos

Sou quem falhei ser.
I am who I failed to be.
Álvaro de Campos

The exhibition of visual arts at Casa Álvaro de Campos, starts October 3. It is open Tuesday to Wednesday from 2pm to 8pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 2pm and 6pm to 11pm, and it closes on Sunday and Monday.

For more information about this and other events check out the website and Facebook page.

Facebook: Festa dos Anos de Álvaro de Campos


Photos: SUE HALL