A TRANQUILE STRENGHT
I do not know the way to defeat others, but the way to defeat myself.
Master Yagyü. Kendo Sensei to the Tokugawa Shogun
From where came - or better saying - how did Antonio Conceição Junior’s
From his Macanese infancy, branded by the incurable melancholy of the
early loss of a beautiful and mythic Mother? And the slow learning of an
inner solitude? Why do some beings are born predestined for art to such an
extent that this inclination becomes as natural as breathing?
Who lovingly kept Antonio’s first drawings? Who nurtured his dreams and
exorcised his fears? Who, in the dark attic where children dream drew
windows of clarity?
To find a path and follow it, gathering the most various instruments and
learning to handle them with mastery and rigor, reaching the discovery of
beauty in its prodigious simplicity. This is how I define the coherence of
the work with the personality of its author.
According to Homer, the artist learns from Hefestus and Palas Athenea the
secrets of Knowing How to Do, one of the noblest sides of wisdom. Thought
and action blended in an active knowledge, Techne and Ars: a prodigy that
orchestrated life styles through millenniums, and created imperishable
We know that Antonio built his elaborated gardens and towers in a floating
Territory, over the sacred contiguity of civilisations, taking the colour
and vibrations of uncountable testimonies of human spirituality: frescoes,
canvases, ceramics, silks, bronzes, writings, melodies, creeds and ways,
eternal weapons and ephemeral flowers.
From the borders of the Mediterranean World to the Seas of the South of
China, there, where man marvelled over the result of the Encounter of a
Dream with a pair of Hands, Antonio discovered Shape, Matter and the Light
that sheds the Senses. In his inner pilgrimage he has been illustrator and
painter, sculptor and calligrapher, minstrel and choreographer,
scenographer and fashion designer, photographer, museographer and graphic
designer, Aikidoist and cybernaut. Accepting the challenge of each Art, in
which unique nature he looks for what cannot be found in the others -
eternal alliance of the creative with the artistic proposals of his time.
And if Antonio passed continuously from one frame to another, he has
walked under the sign of rigor. It is so rare that one single man can make
this sensorial journey through such different matters!
How not to invoke the magic of his models of haute couture? Ancient
stories told by sumptuous colours, ochre’s of sands, a bronze of ancient
vessels, cinnabars and burnt sienna’s from the residues of lost worlds.
In the surprising group of sculptures called Assemblages, a manifest
minimalism hides (or reveals) the seduction of Japan, in the silent
identity of the “object per se”, taken away from utilitarism by a tranquil
In Antonio, the cultural shock was ploughed ground, seed and condiment,
fire and sap of a cornfield with no boundaries.
To create the way one exists. “The human being must be an overflow of
vitality,” says “Hagakure”.
November in Macau: a fresh breeze smoothes the waters of the Pearl Delta.
Under the remaining fig trees intertwined in the urban tissue, there are
still children at play. In the silence of his studio Antonio persists
calmly in his labour, changing the piece of magnolia wood in a sheath of a
sabre of pure lines and satin-like touch. I am glad Antonio. Every object
you touch acquires a new dignity.
Macau, November 24, 2000
Writer and Poetress