joão bragança

12 nov 2021 - 19 feb 2022

joão bragança learned how to use cardboard while studying architecture. he used it as a support to make mockups of his first projects. but it was during an internship in tokyo, with the architect kengo kuma, that he discovered the true potential of this material: “the japanese are using manual techniques of unparalleled precision.”

despite recognising cardboard’s extraordinary qualities, the author prefers to elect light as the real material his works are made of.

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light, and its absence – shadow – are the main characters of this exhibition. the white waving surfaces of each one of the exhibited art pieces is only broken by the vibrant redness of “scala rossa”, unlike any other. the author explains that he aimed at recreating the allegories of heaven and hell, and so he decided to place face to face two pieces representing that dichotomy, widely celebrated by the most diverse artists of all ages.

oppositions, or dichotomies, is another theme explored throughout the walls of spazioarte. two twin sculptures, “baltazar” and “blimunda”, seem to talk to us about it. they make reference to the two main characters of memorial do convento, a novel by the portuguese nobel laureate josé saramago, born precisely 99 years ago. as in saramago's classic, these two sculptures are an expression of two fields that, although opposite, complement each other, forming an idea of universal unity.

on the opposite wall there are two pieces entitled “desert night” and “desert sun”. here, too, the presence of night and day allude to opposing concepts. the author explains that he often uses his personal imagination and memories to help him in the creative process. a trip to the desert of morocco in 2018 was the motto for the creation of these two sculptures.

in the back of the room, in a prominent place, flanked by the representation of heaven and hell, is “midday sun”. this white high-relief impresses with its contrasting play of light and shadow. when mentioning this particular piece, the author alludes to the city where he grew up. “lisbon’s light is unique”, he says. “the city faces south, where the tagus estuary is, resembling a mirror. the multicoloured houses that populate the city's hills reflect an intense white light. the shadows are also more contrasting there”.

“midday sun” tells us about that light of lisbon. and also about this artist’s dna, who fills his works with references to portuguese culture.


joão pedro bragança was born in 1990 in lisbon, portugal, and completed his master's degree in architecture in 2015 at accademia di architettura di mendrisio, in switzerland. after collaborations with multiple architecture studios around the world, from tokyo to zurich, his vocation became the starting point for wider explorations. a lover of the freedom that comes with the creative act, and interested in the diverse artistic expressions and languages that enhance it, joão bragança searches for the dematerialisation of the limits within architecture. his creations, even though not always containers of liveable space, foresee an exploration of architecture’s own vocabularies. joão lives and works in cascais, portugal.


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