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Exhibition by Paulo Mendes at Teatro Aveirense

Published at — 19 June 2024

Exhibition by Paulo Mendes at Teatro Aveirense

On June 20th, at 6pm, an exhibition dedicated to mining exploration in Portugal will open. It is a video and sound installation created by the artist and curator Paulo Mendes, specifically for Aveiro 2024 – Portuguese Capital of Culture, which can be visited for free at Teatro Aveirense until July 31st.

For the exhibition, Paulo Mendes took the 1940s in Portugal and mining exploration in the country as the starting point, with particular focus on tungsten, a mineral used for the production of steel and other metallic materials for the production of weapons during the World War II.
The installation also alludes to Salazar's diplomatic position in this period – between apparent neutrality and the negotiation of minerals with Germans and allies –, as well as the paternalistic discourse and propagandistic iconography of the Estado Novo regime, which celebrated work and submission to a dictatorship as social virtues. The title of this work borrows a sentence from the novel “Volfrâmio”, by Aquilino Ribeiro, published in 1943.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication in newspaper format – numbered and signed by Paulo Mendes –, which is given to visitors as a complement to the installation. This work contains not only quotes from authors such as Jacques Rancière, Jonathan Crary and Émile Zola, among others, but also various images, some from the newspaper O Pejão, produced in the 1950s by Carbonífera do Douro, the company which managed the Pejão Mines, located in the district of Aveiro.