17.05.2022 – 29.07.2022


Vasco Araújo

The exhibition Pathosformel shares its name with a film made by the artist at the beginning of 2020 (in collaboration with the School of Arts, Univ. Católica do Porto), consisting of different episodes which rethink and challenge certain myths of Classical Antiquity. Between them the exhibition and film play a game of convergence and divergence: they are autonomous, but intimately related. The installation that makes up the exhibition is comprised of the film and certain of its props, small sculptural pieces and artworks, as well as two video-sculptures, the Entre Actos (Between Acts) which, as suggested by their name bring up the idea of an interval, an interlude or something intermediate within the exhibition as a whole, not least because they are contemplated separately.

The exhibition’s title is inspired by a similarly-named concept developed by Aby Warburg (1866-1929): Pathosformel suggests an“indissoluble intertwining of an emotional charge and an iconographic formula”, thus defining “archetypal gestures associated with emotions like sadness, joy, fear, despair, hate, love, hope, desire, frustration, audacity, sanctioned by repetition and stratification of subjective experiences”.

Crucial to these works is the idea of crisis understood as a fracture, or disharmony. This collapse, so to speak, foreshadows a radical, decisive “experience”, where no part, be it internal or external, not even the end as suggested by the very title, can be taken for granted.  The emphasis should not to be placed on the result, but rather on the process, the unfolding of experience.

Overall, the exhibition is focused on the verbalised action, the imagery of violence, psychological emotions and the ecstasy of feeling, to then reflect on the way to support the pain caused by forces beyond individual control: our passions, irretrievable loss; the irreversibility of time; to ultimately reflect on our destiny, and what it is to be human and alive.



Vasco Araújo was born in 1975 in Lisbon, the city where he continues to live and work. He completed his first degree in Sculpture in 1999 at FBAUL (Lisbon University School of Fine Art), and attended the Advanced Course in Visual Arts at Maumaus in Lisbon, from 1999 to 2000. Since then, he has participated in various solo and group exhibitions both in Portugal and abroad, also taking part in residency programmes, such as The University of Arts, Philadelphia (2007); Récollets, Paris (2005); and the Core Program (2003/04), Houston. In 2003, he was awarded the EDP Prize for New Artists.

Amongst his solo exhibitions have been “A moment apart”, MAAT, Lisbon (2019); Vasco Araújo” “Vasco Araújo”, M-Museum, Leuven, Belgium, (2018); “Decolonial desires”, Autograph ABP, London, U.K. (2016); “Potestad”, MALBA – Museu de Arte Latino-Americana de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.(2015); “Under the Influence of Psyche”, The Power Plant, Toronto (2014); “Debret”, Pinacoteca do Estado de S. Paulo, S. Paulo (2013); “Avec les voix de l’autre”, Musée d’art de Joliette, Joliette (2011); “Mais que a vida » , Fundação C. Gulbenkian/ CAM, Lisboa and MARCO, Vigo (2010) ; “Eco” Jeu de Paume, Paris (2008); “Vasco Araújo: Per-Versions”, the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston (2008); About being Different (2007), BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, U.K.;  Pathos (2006), Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca; Dilemma (2005), S.M.A.K., Ghent; L’inceste (2005), Museu do Azulejo, Lisbon; The Girl of the Golden West (2005), The Suburban, Chicago; Dilema (2004), Museu de Serralves, Porto; Sabine/Brunilde (2003), SNBA, Lisbon.

Amongst group exhibitions, the most important have been his participation in the as “Bienal do Bioceno – Cambiar el Verde por Azul »15º Bienal de Cuenca, Cuenca, Ecuador (2021); “Triangulo atlântico” Bienal Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2018); “All that Falls”, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014);  “Investigations of a Dog”, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turim (2009); “Everything has a name, or the potential to be named”, Gasworks, Londres (2009); “Em Vivo Contacto”, 28º Bienal de S. Paulo, São Paulo (2008);  “Artes Mundi, Wales Internacional Visual Art Exhibition and Prize”, National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff (2008); “Kara Walker and Vasco Araújo:  Reconstruction”, Museum of Fine Arts,  Houston, (2007); “Drei Farben – Blau”, XIII Rohkunstbau, Grobleuthen (2006); “Experience of Art”, La Biennale di Venezia. 51st International Exhibition of Art, Venice; “Dialectics of Hope”, 1st Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art, Moscow, (both in 2005); Solo (For Two Voices), CCS, Bard College (2002), New York; “The World Maybe Fantastic” Sydney Biennial (2002), Sydney; Trans Sexual Express, Barcelona (2001), a Classic for the Third Millennium (2001), Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona.

His work has been published in various books and catalogues and is represented in several public and private collections, such as the Centre Pompidou, Art Institute  Chicago (USA); Musée d’Art Moderne (France); Museu Colecção Berardo, Arte Moderna e Contamporânea, (Portugal); Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Portugal); Fundación Centro Ordóñez-Falcón de Fotografía – COFF (Spain); Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, Centro de Arte (Spain); Fundação de Serralves (Portugal); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (USA); Pinacoteca do estado S. Paulo (Brazil).


Photos by
Vasco Stocker de Vilhena