About This Project

Rui Chafes/MNAC




With a degree in sculpture from the University of Lisbon’s School of Fine Arts (1984-1989), it was in Germany, where he attended the Kunstakademie (Dusseldorf), that he developed his interest in Germanic language and culture and his taste for Romanticism. He began exhibiting individually in 1986, during which time he presented installations made up of a variety of materials. His search for formal refinement led him to create his first sculptures in black painted iron in 1989, a choice that would mark his career as a sculptor. His work is marked by more or less subtle references to the themes and aesthetics of German romanticism, guided by a continuous questioning of the act of making and thinking about art and the artistic object itself. His research focuses on the intense relationship between reason and emotion, on questioning the dichotomy of absence/presence of the body and on reflecting on the place of sculpture and the interrelationships between work, space and observer, resulting in works marked by a strong organic component and formal solidity. As well as creating a profuse sculptural oeuvre, Rui Chafes also devotes himself to drawing, a medium through which he formally and conceptually develops the issues he addresses in sculpture. His strong interest in German culture is also explored through the exercise of translating one of his favorite authors, Novalis, who is constantly quoted in texts that accompany his work. In 2000, he presented the major exhibition “Durante o fim” in Sintra, at the Museu de Arte Moderna Colecção Berardo, Palácio Nacional da Pena and Parque Histórico da Pena; in 2001 he had a one-man show at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kuns, in Gent; with Vera Mantero he realized the project “Comer o coração”, which represented Portugal at the 2004 São Paulo Biennial and was presented at the Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, in 2005.