Sérgio Leitão

Sérgio Leitão
IN GIRUM _ THE BEGINNINGS, 14 to 26 October 2021
THE DIVERSIONS, 27 August to 10 September 2022
THE FALLOUT, 1 April to 6 May 2023

"One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rose (...) All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again (...) To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (...) a time to break down and time to build up ( ...) a time to rend, and time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." (Guy Debord, In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni)

Last October, Uillinn hosted Portuguese artist Sérgio Leitão, who presented the contextual mixed media installation IN GIRUM _ THE BEGINNINGS, the first of his three residence periods at West Cork Arts Centre. The title addressed a famous palindrome in Latin, In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, which roughly translates as "We go round and round at night and are consumed by fire". In the Middle Ages, the phrase was attributed a magical power because, if transcribed on a parchment and then burned, it would have allowed to find the formula of the philosopher's stone.

This was one of many comhfhreagrais [correspondences] presented in Leitão's THE BEGINNINGS, while addressing Skibbereen's past and present context(s), from the 1631 Sack of Baltimore, that led to development of the capital of the Carberies (a video entitled "How This is Different From Westphalia_ Islands II"), to  a colorful and vibrant town (as presented in the whole installation), including found graphic elements and objects as well as different production and research tools, as is current in the artist’s practice.

IN GIRUM _ THE BEGINNINGS will be followed a second research residency (THE DIVERSIONS) next year, and the last part of this project (THE FALLOUT) in 2023.

T. McCarthy, archeologist and linguist, November 2021

Photographic credits: the artist+ Shanna May Breen


Leitão’s work seeks to explore connections between different fields of knowledge, from art and architecture, to literature, philosophy and history, among other territories, while aiming to establish a dialogue with the specific contexts of presentation. His projects are frequently materialized into mixed media installations, at the intersection of sculpture, painting and video, as well as autonomous pieces in several media, sculptural interventions in public spaces and performances. His research and context-based works have been presented in the scope of curatorial projects taking place in contemporary art museums, galleries and project spaces, as well as in factories, libraries, convents, power stations, railroad buildings, archaeological sites, parks, among other venues.

The artist’s current exhibition project, entitled IN GIRUM _ THE BEGINNINGS, will be developed during the first of his three residence periods at UILLINN. It will be followed by a second research (THE DIVERSIONS) and, finally, the last part of this project (THE FALLOUT).

IN GIRUM _ THE BEGINNINGS is a work presented in the form of an installation with videos, drawings, collages, photomontages and assemblages. It gets back to a project that Leitão has previously created for the Oporto Planetarium, this time to explore the geographical and cultural landscape of Skibbereen, through objects and images collected and re-directed to a place at the intersection of different stories. A place of reality and illusion where figures perform as actors in the vertigo of possibilities. In this game of correspondences between all elements the audience will be invited to move between denotative, connotative, perceptual and rhetorical codes. Walking in between these images and objects they will hopefully be disarmed and mobilized in routes that could become the conditions for other possible collective and personal mappings.

Sérgio Leitão (b. Monte Estoril, Portugal) holds a Degree in Fine Arts (ESAP) and a PhD in Visual Arts (FBAPv / UVIGO). He attended the Independent Visual Arts Program (MAUMAUS),  the Gasthof Program (STÄDELSCHULE), as well as Sculpture / Photography (ARCO) and Video Art (GULBENKIAN FOUNDATION) programs.



WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.

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