The painting Mensagem Inequívoca I (1977) by Jorge Pinheiro (Coimbra, 1931) stands out in the promotion of the exhibition O pequeno mundo, curated by Sérgio Mah. The exhibition, held at MACNA – Nadir Afonso Contemporary Art Museum, Chaves, from 1 November 2020 to 21 February 2021, will travel to Lisbon, and open at Culturgest on October 2021.

In 1963, the artist completed his Painting studies at Escola Superior de Belas-Artes do Porto [Porto Fine Arts School] with the highest possible grade. Subsequently, he joined ESBAP in a teaching capacity until 1976. In that same year he transferred to Escola Superior de Belas-Artes de Lisboa [Lisbon Fine Arts School] where he taught until 1996. He formed Os Quatro Vintes, a group of artists that remained active until 1972, together with Ângelo de Sousa, Armando Alves and José Rodrigues. As a Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian scholarship student he travelled to several European countries in 1966, and studied Semiotics of the Visual Arts at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, in 1979/80. In 2002, CAM-FCG put on a retrospective exhibition entitled Jorge Pinheiro – 1961-2001. In 2017, Fundação Carmona e Costa and Museu Serralves organized the exhibition Jorge Pinheiro – D’aprês Fibonacci e as coisas lá fora, curated by Pedro Cabrita Reis; the painting Mensagem Inequívoca I was part of this exhibition. Both shows were accompanied by catalogues that included interviews with the artist.

His paintings were originally figurative, a style to which he would later return to in the late 1970s. After Paris, during the 1970s, Abstract painting, such as Pop Art, Op Art, Kinetic Art and Minimalism, continued to dominate. At this stage, his painting is characterized by dynamic and geometric forms and defined by many vivacious, uniform and dense, colour patches.

Mensagem Inequívoca I (1977) is one of the experiments on the meaning of symbols made in the field of semiotics. Using a graphic language consisting of simple shapes – dots, lines and arcs – the painting seems to write a vibrant and playful sentence. In the exhibition catalogue of O pequeno mundo, curator Sérgio Mah writes: «An array of five horizontal sequences comprising series of graphic elements was inscribed on a sage green monochromatic background. For a brief moment we perceive it to be a musical score. However, what is left is for us to concede that we are before a language, which is purely pictorial and was not designed to produce clear and transparent meaning. It is an “unequivocal message” only if we read it within a framework of expansive, transitive and sensitive comprehensibility.»

Through the ineffable quality of abstract language, Jorge Pinheiro's painting discloses relevant attention to the understanding of the pictorial elements and the conceptual and emotional meanings it employs. By understanding and sensing the painting in its formal features, it is possible to glimpse many possibilities and infinite pictorial inventions revived in the eye of each beholder.


Hugo Dinis

Mensagem Inequívoca I
Acrylic on canvas
120,2 x 190 cm
Inv. 239009
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