Events: Book Presentation: 1st Amadeo de Souza Cardoso International Congress


Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis

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Book Presentation: 1st Amadeo de Souza Cardoso International Congress

This book brings together reflections resulting from a new historiographical view of Amadeo’s work that has been developing in the 20th century and which were presented and debated during the Congress. A century on from the exhibition organized by Amadeo in Porto, and despite the different studies, the revisions of the corpus of his work and the comparisons, both with works by contemporary artists and with the movements of the first avant-gardes of the 20th century, we know that there is still a lot about this artist’s work that forces us to look for new frameworks of understanding to explain the various meanings that exist in Amadeo’s work. From all these studies, questions have arisen that are linked, leading, on the one hand, to clarifying their importance in the circumstances in which they were carried out, through new models of analysis of Amadeo’s history and historiography and, on the other hand, to thinking about the current moment (technical means and permeability to networks of relationships and interactions) as a component of the perceptive experiences of the work that are now multiplying.

This Congress has helped us to understand the scope of Amadeo’s vision and what we believe to be his artistic essence, as well as bringing us closer to the real dimension of his legacy for the 20th century, not only on a national but also on an international scale; it has also provided shifts in points of view and suggested topics for research.

As an individual who didn’t allow himself to be enclosed by borders, Amadeo sought out, desired and expanded the diversity of information that crossed the “capitals” of the avant-garde at the time. These became part of his artistic geography, like the mountains of the Douro Valley and more familiar places like Amarante and Manhufe… but above all, as places that offered the means and stimuli to research himself as an artist. A traveler within himself, his plastic questions and interests accompanied him and became involved with specific circumstances and spaces. Matter and form, theme and plastic matter, sensitive spaces in ever-renewed transpositions (palette, brushstroke, figuration, stain, compositions-remembrances, montages-disintegrations…) which he captured and abandoned, detachedly, to the rhythm of conversations with images (his own and others’), sensations and feelings.

Problematizing plastic quotations, Amadeo nevertheless protected himself from distances that would not distract him from the encounter with signs, created and often recreated in an individual and exclusive time that gave body to forms captured in a first context and which he then identified as potentially something else…

He invented plastic procedures, in constant experiments that followed one another in apparent serenity: different rhythms of “inspiration”, suspensions… The line or the stain, the question or the plastic essay.

The visualization of the reconstruction of Amadeo’s 1916 exhibition, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso: 2016-1916. Porto-Lisbon, at the Soares dos Reis National Museum (where the second day of the Congress took place, as part of the collaboration between the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the MNSR), culminating the work of the Congress, allowed for discussion and exchange of the ideas presented by the speakers. We took another look at Amadeo: the need to continue pursuing an understanding of the variety of plastic experiences and artistic ideas that the artist built up – that “joy so physical” materialized in the extensive work, in the ability to see in insubordinate composition and color, just as insubordinate was his unique voice, strong but at the same time sweet, affirmative and aware of its own originality. Amadeo commented, evaluated and made his way towards himself, with immense curiosity and great appetite: this is why the experiments he tried out and the results obtained, both of a technical and aesthetic nature, as well as conceptual, are closely linked to the realization and expression of his artistic identities. This voracity has led him to spread himself too thinly over actions, experiences, projects, achievements… to be many.