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Since 1971, the work of José Barrias begins to take the form of a sort of "cinematographic" journey made up of "short and medium films" connected to each other as episodes focused on the horizon of a "feature film" constantly on the move, as the title suggests of his last retrospective at the Serralves Museum in Porto in 2011.

These short and medium-length films, open (almost all), changeable, full of crossroads and mutual influences, have been divided since 1972 into actual cycles/thematic cores:

Obstbuch/il libro dei frutti, 1971-1973
Quase romance, 1973-1987
Os Embaixadores, 1978-1987
Barragem, 1980
Pas sages, 1980
Noitiario, 1984
Vestìgios, dal 1987
Tempo, dal 1990
Nostos/il ritorno, 1992-1995
Nostalgia del passagem, dal 1994
Camera scripta camera picta, dal 1995

Like a writer, José Barrias also "publishes", he makes his exhibitions public. These, like novellas, are complete works, most often in installation form, and have their own internal logic. As short stories, they too will leave behind studies, projects, notes, but not necessarily other works. The presupposition of this initiative is that these various "exhibitions" form a vaster work: like the titles of a book they relate to each other, inform each other, to form a single image.

Some of the characteristics that will remain constant along the path of José Barrias are the interest in Baroque theatricality, the relationship with literature, the melancholy presence of the past which, together with the autobiographical reflection, are part of the network of meaning that structures this singular work.

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