A world of virtualities and invocations, faust and exotism, seems to be what is required by present taste. A sensorial search of the use of signs in dressing, thirty years after Umberto Eco have written in his well known Psychology of Dressing, that everything is communication, the simple fact of wearing or not wearing ties - then considered phallic symbols, representing a specific power - as an ideological option, an overdose of political connotations that submerged the poor beings that wore those clothes in a sea of significant evidences.

Presently, superficiality and ludism impose their rule over the objects, deconstructing logics more or less conformed by functionality concepts, provoking a certain nostalgia of the hegemony of the intellect, while undoubtedly opening, a new way to the fast and natural acculturating symbiosis, to the traffic between cultural areas, adding and compatibilizing elements of different orders and aesthetical families, allowing for the conviviality of different situations.

These are introductory words for António Conceição Júnior’s exhibition at the Gulbenkian Foundation Modern Art Center, an example of an innovative situation at the museological level, for not being one more garments exhibition, but an invocation of garments in their artistic and symbolic quality imposed by the materials, almost independently of who is wearing them or the architectonical context in which they are presented.

It is foremost their invocative and propitiatory capacity, in which the spectator is inevitably led to mentally construct the environments: sometimes sinister, others coming from the past, costumes of ghosts, things of museums or of graves, situations that refer to the world.

The world of the living and of the deceased, but also of churches, in which the Baroque or the Counter-reform begin once more to make sense again.

This proximity to the primordial architecture, first way of controlling the surrounding environment, as said by Bruno Zevi about garments, is a very up to date approach.

An Art that invites one’s participation, in a moment of bovine passivity before the commercial-academic objects ( which are in its majority the bad painting that is imposing itself for prestige reasons in the collections of the noveau-rich), is worthy of all our enthusiasm, and we believe, constitutes the evident sign of an encounter of the talent of António Conceição Júnior, in a moment in which design is announcing what is happening anew in art.

Lisbon, 30 de May 30, 1991

Sílvia Chicó
Vice-President of the

International Association of Art Critics