Nino Cais aesthetic: European vs Brazilian identity - deconstructing colonial icons

Maria de Fátima Lambert

Palavras-chave: Aesthetic Standard of Taste; Decolonial artistic procedures; Deconstructed Iconographies: Nino Cais; Staged photographs

Participação: presencial

We will present Nino Cais art work as a study case considering how stereotyped previous colonial iconography can be overcome by an aesthetic of staged irony. Once, European artists travelled to Brazil - and other South-America territories - accomplishing anthropological missions: to registrar, to document the "New World" for socio-political and ideological-history for pragmatic reasons and purposes. Nature, landscape, people, episodes and traditions were a delightful weirdness, corresponding to 17th or 18th centuries aesthetic standard of taste. Nino Cais, the Brazilian contemporary artist, presents extremely striking and exotic iconographies that can disable political colonial dogmatisms. He also aims the unconscious deepest personal identity, fighting against the uniformity of taste and the still powerful standardization of behaviour, racial counter-movements and nowadays’ societal criticisms. Regarding the 21st century, sometimes, these kind of artist-traveller- photographer becomes visible or veiled – assuming to perform different 'projected/introjected' self- portraits – according to his existential intention, ideological statement or inner desire. His affirmation as a cultural subject/agent controls/manipulates previous photographs, stimulated by a strong conviction to disturb society 'a posteriori', through acting out and melting anthropological and ethnographic stereotypes. As other Contemporary artists, Nino Cais conceives and shapes his work in staring procedures, overwhelming decolonial intentions through images, so granting – ad simultaneum – self-ruling aesthetic and ideological prediction. Non traveling photographers as Nino Cais domesticate people and places, enlightening surreal/imaginary characters and landscapes. Nino Cais‘ Series assume journeys already happened in forwarded (historic) time and space: "Travelers" (Viajantes) and "Picturesque Journey Picturesque" (Pitoresca viagem pitoresca). Nino Cais’ recalls upon Jean Baptiste Debret Brazilian' Iconographic Album: Picturesque and Historic Journey to Brazil (1834–1839) and Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira' Philosophical Journey (1783/1792). The decision of producing images referring to ancient colonial acting, now as a sedentary traveller connects also other quotations – for instance of Albert Eckout’ Still life’s and Ethnographic native painted portraits. He evokes traditional engravings using collage technic, emphasizing Dadaist’ aesthetic and sociological aims. He calls upon 19th studio staged portraits from early Brazilian and European photography. He decolonises stereotyped images through glamorous irony and subtle sarcasm.


Maria de Fátima Lambert PhD Aesthetics (1998), Fac. Phil. Braga/UCP: Philosophical Principles of Aesthetics of Almada Negreiros; Master Philosophy (1986) Fernando Pessoa Aesthetics and the Portuguese Modernism. Research fellow FCT Writing and Seeing: 2000-2004.
Full Professor Aesthetics and Education - School of Education/Polytechnic Porto, with the lesson:

Anthropology and Iconography of Body (2000). President of Scientific Board (1998-2004). Director (2014-2017); Full Member InED-FCT (Center for Research and Innovation in Education. Scientific Committee Member: IHA-FCSH/UNL (2011-2017); MIDAS (POR); Visuals /UNICAMP (BR), Asparkía/ Universitat Jaume I (ES); Rev. EARI/Universitat València (ES); Rev. Post-
Threshold/PUC-Campinas (BR); Rev. Diferents-Museum Contemporary Art V.A.C. V./Valencia (ES); Journal History of Society and Culture/ University Coimbra (POR).
Specialist Evaluator - Portuguese Agency for Higher Education Evaluation A3eS. Supervisor: Master, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Degrees; Research Fellows.
Member of AICA (Portugal). Independent curator since 1994: programming Brazilian and Portuguese Art.
Keynote Speaker at scientific/cultural events; author of books/texts in scientific journals.