Sewing the tongue onto the roof of the mouth
Coser a Língua ao Céu-da-Boca

Gustavo Sumpta

Installation / sculpture / performance


February 25 – March 25 2017

Opening: February 24th, 7 pm
Performance: March 11, 7:30 pm


curated by Tiny Domingos

rosalux is delighted to announce the first solo exhibition in Germany by Portuguese visual artist and performer Gustavo Sumpta.

Combining everyday objects, video and sculptures in a major space intervention, Gustavo Sumpta will transform the exhibition space into an immersive installation. A new series of sculptures will be presented for the first time to the public.
The exhibition ‚Seewing the tongue onto the roof of the mouth‘ is inspired by Charles Laughton’s film ‚The Night of the Hunter‘ (1955) in which Robert Mitchum plays Harry Powel, a terrible manipulator and seducer pretends to be a pastor to achieve his ends. His homilies parody the radio sermons and the euphoric and prosperous America of the 1950s and echoes strongly in the current Trump era. The film is also a plural portrait of generous artists rejected by the morals of their century.

Over the last 15 years, Gustavo Sumpta has affirmed himself as one of the most renowned performance artists in Portugal. His work dispenses expensive technological means and fashionable ‚ex-machina‘ effects. Its sparseness is radical and incompatible with a quick and distracted observation. The artist demands from the public the same acurate attention and the same care he dedicates to his working process: a maximum concentration to fully be able to follow his performances (in which the final outcome follows a long and captivating crescendo), to glimpse in the gloom the disturbing but poetic mystery of small gestures repeated to exhaustion. Paving stones, slabs, barriers, drums, video cassette tapes, bicycle tubes and toilet paper. The materials used are poor. Many of them are already at the site of their interventions or nearby. We are far from a production of huge glamorous objects for commercial purposes. Nor is it a matter of imposition, transformation or demonstration of any good taste or technical know-how. His artistic practice involves the apprehension of the Genius loci, the revelation of the hidden side of the seemingly trivial elements he encounters as well as the social and psychological tensions that we strive to dissimulate.

No „l’art our art“. The subject here is serious. It is about life or death. From an unexpected balance of accounts in a dark alley, from the possibility of blood rushing, from the breath of the ditch to envelop everything and everyone. Impossible drama. In this hour of truth, our most secret turpitudes finally reveal themselves, and the doors of true resistance and the relentless catharship are opened, which drags everything along only to leave a good tabula rasa.

Gustavo Sumpta is born in 1970 in Luanda (Angola), where he remained after the Portuguese moved out of Angola (especially from 1975 onwards). Postcolonialism is not for him an academic approach or a curatorial perspective but a reality lived in the first person with only white pupil of his school and his neighborhood during the ups and downs of Angola of the post-independence period. An intense experience that is reflected in the forcefulness and vitality of his artistic practice. At the age of 18, he came to Portugal where he studied History and graduated in performing arts in Oporto. He worked with renowned personalities from the most diverse artistic disciplines: with the film director Pedro Costa, with the choreographer João Fiadeiro and with the sculptor Rui Chafes. Interdisciplinary experiences that reinforce his work in which we find a dramaturgical density, a great attention to aesthetics, a very particular look and rhythm that the Portuguese arthouse cinema has been disclosing internationally and that are closely linked to the socio-cultural context, the forms of aesthetic resistance and the Lusitanian ‚modus vivendi‘. (TD)

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