Otelo M. Fabião

1974, Portugal. Lives and works between Algarve and London

Selected solo exhibitions
*2013 Interface Makonde | Galeria do Convento Espírito Santo, Loulé – Portugal
*2005 (2 b cont.)… | Galeria do Convento Espírito Santo, Loulé – Portugal
*2003 9º International Jazz Festival | Convento de Santo António, Loulé – Portugal
*2002 Trajectórias, Circuitos Fechados | Galeria da Restauração,Olhão – Portugal
*2001 Petit Marché | Galeria A.R.,Faro – Portugal. Entre o Sério e o Quase Ridículo | Satori – Associação Cultural, Querença – Portugal
*2000 Em Trânsito | Galeria da Delegação do Instituto Português da Juventude, Faro – Portugal
*1998 Impulso | Casa da Cultura, Loulé – Portugal

Selected group exhibitions
*2013 Lições da Escuridão | CIAJG_Centro Internacional das Artes José de Guimarães, Guimarães – Portugal. Time is Love.6 _ International Video Art Screening | Curated by Kisito Assangni – U.K., U.S.A., Germany, Norway, Iran & The Netherlands. Algarve Visionário, Excêntrico e Utópico | 17th Biennial of Cerveira, Vila Nova de Cerveira – Portugal
*2012 Fin du Monde | La Générale, Paris – France. Para Além da História | CIAJG_Centro Internacional das Artes José de Guimarães – Capital Europeia da Cultura, Guimarães – Portugal
*2011 Arquipélago | Companhia das Culturas, Castro Marim – Portugal
*2010 Algarve Visionário Excêntrico e Utópico – Allgarve´10 | Museu Municipal, Faro – Portugal
A Linha Curva – Deambulações em torno do desenho de Pancho Guedes – Allgarve´10 |  Vilamoura – Portugal. MdG: Sabotagem | Galeria Zem, São Brás de Alportel – Portugal. Objectos Voadores e Outros Ovnis -Allgarve´10 | Museu Municipal, Faro – Portugal
*2009 Mobilehome | Lagar das Portas do Céu , Loulé – Portugal. Crisis Ex Nihilo | La Petite Rockette, Paris – France
*2008 Festival Med | Loulé – Portugal
*2006 Szabadság | Galeria Atlântica – Vila Sol Morgadinhos, Loulé – Portugal
*2005 Tractor | Faro Capital Nacional Da Cultura | Antiga Fábrica da Cerveja, Faro – Portugal. Golfinhos e Arte | Galeria de Arte da Marina, Albufeira – Portugal
*2004 Pinturas Recentes – 6 Artistas | Galeria da Restauração, Olhão – Portugal
*2003 Sonhos na Casa Amarela – 1ª edição | Antiga Fábrica da Cerveja, Faro Portugal
*2002 11 Artistas | Galeria da Restauração, Olhão – Portugal. Primeira Semana d´Os Artistas | S.R.A.F., Faro – Portugal. Maio Jovem (XI edição) | Galeria da Delegação do Instituto Português da Juventude , Faro – Portugal
*1995 – 1999 and 2002 Mostra de Artes Plásticas | Galeria de Arte do Convento Espírito Santo, Loulé – Portugal

*2012 Living Room/ Studio /Living Room | Jiska Morgenthal, London – U.K. A Relational Video Grammar: Affective Editor | Kate Pelling & Fifth Floor Publications, London – U.K. Altered States | Martin O´Brien & ]performance s p a c e [ , London – U.K. You are Here | Super Massive Black Hole, Dublin – Ireland
*2011 Fragmentary Consolation for A Queer (dis)Position | ]performance s p a c e [, London – U.K.
*2010 Because Fracture Exists | ArtEvict, London – U.K.
*2009 Impossible Exchange | Brina Thurston & Frieze Projects, London – U.K. Camone | Associação Cultural, Quarteira – Portugal
*2003 Distance & Surprise  | Bärbel Burck | Halle Saale / Santa Bárbara de Nexe – Portugal


Artist statement

In 2005 I began to feel unsure about the development of my career and started to question what it all meant. Was art production a matter of schedule, discipline, safety and location?

My quest through the relational shadowy maze called London made perfect polarization with the light of the south coast of Portugal, where I was born and my studio still is (in suspension). Inducing this separation between what an artist is supposed to be and an artist in transit created unpredictable dynamism: the achievement of authenticity away from the promise of success inside a comfort zone.

I found my artistic practice progressively becoming its own process of unfolding itself, in the intersection of the fortuitous with the pondering of chance happening in the fabric of my days and nights. In this fracture I found possibilities of constructing new forms of expression and of calibrating them with the need to be more or less understood.

In an experimental project, ‘The Uselessness of Painting’, a manifesto-type manuscript put into practice, I began a series of paintings with the intention of discovering whether a painting was still a painting if its context would differ – ultimately throwing them into rivers, burying them in forests or making them go up in smoke.

This antithetical attitude posed questions: to which dimension does a painting belong when uselessly drifting down a river or up in smoke; what means it to produce these objects, show them in galleries and bring them back home to stack them again against the wall? To what degree was I capable of such expenditure and questioning? If the painter, in frustration, is now walking back and forth between home and the river or the forest, carrying paintings under the arm, throwing them away and documenting their disappearance, what forms was I creating through this rupture of the artist’s personal process for new considerations to emerge?

In reflecting upon these and other questions, I started to engage with the concept of photographic documentation, as if collecting objets-trouvés captured as photographs to build spectral memory and urban recognition, involving not solely myself as quasi-performer but other people, agglomerating them into the work, and rediscovering the creative potential of walking, a theme recurring from previous projects focused on ideas of paralysis, trajectories and closed circuits.

Walking, as point of departure, set in motion the comprehension that what mattered for me was not just dropping paintings into rivers or bonfires, but rather the body traversing space as subject and its relationship with presence, place and memory. Since 2008 I have walked extensively through London, collecting street strata, reporting street scenes and self-portraying within them, to form archives for two different projects: ‘The Dirty Flâneur’ and ‘The Psychogeographer’.

The discovery of this vocabulary and language as body of work through the processual and performatic has led me to invest in the creation of temporary studios across parts of the city, (in friends gardens or garages for example) as poles of connection between my dérives and détournements, and thus build bases for the continuation of my work.

Otelo M. Fabião 2013

About Otelo M. Fabião work> Excerpts

“The basis for Otelo Fabião´s research is drawing, always taken as a point of departure, frequently as a point of arrival. Drawing as a broadened platform of interaction with the world, of self knowledge and acquisition of skills. In this exhibition the seminal drawing, the matrix, is a typewritten page on which the author typed a wide group of words, concepts, and themes, which can be read like a script or as a visual poem. It is from this mental map turned into drawing that Otelo explores a series of actions, based on reiterations and repetitions, to the limit of breakdown and destruction, yet saved by the fragility they display and which confers them with a point of balance, even if precarious”.
Nuno Faria . Excerpt from A Linha Curva for Arquipélago

“Particularly illustrative of this fragmentary nature are Otelo Fabião´s pieces: magazine pages with interventions, zoomorphic hybrid objects (part aerial, part marine, part land creatures), that emerge from the gathering and assemblage of materials found on his walks, such as tree roots, sea shells, moulded and very dry clay, which from the technique of embedding constitute a plethora of gestures that are interwoven and which are formed both as memory and idiosyncrasy. Contemporary art is particularly interested in that which still has no form, does not yet exist as an entity, which is not yet (or is no longer). In this respect is also akin with archaeology. The notion of the negative is thus operative and materialises a thought on the emergence of form, as body, and its absence”.
Nuno Faria. Excerpt from Odd Objects: Exercise on Proto-Sculpture for Beyond History

“If man is extinguished before the giant ball explodes, there will remain these extra-terrestrials: somehow archaeologists, perhaps; somehow gleaners, forced to make do with whatever is at hand, that is, the multiplicity of objects we invent as we fulfill the ideal of growth. Neither the economy nor the body can grow without becoming obese. There is no such thing as an organism in indefinite increase. Crazy as they might sound, the alchimists, absolute artists such as we rarely find these days base their theory of transmutation upon the model of Nature. The body develops, then degenerates, it is incessantly transformed. Could the same not hapen to our waste? Recycling is a first step towards mutation, but it is by no means the only answer. Otelo Fabião, a gleaner of multi-plasticism takes chance walks, and in these, as in his changeable moods he finds auspicious matter for transmutation onto an original, primitive form. As a child at play with all possibilities, the artist wields the sceptre of a religion that celebrates imagination”.
Laetitia Laguzet. Excerpt from Balance of the End of the World: Return to the Original for Fin du Monde

“Among the children that have never known to grow up, there exists a few artists of which the most daring keep silent about their work in order to let the eyes peruse what the images and forms have to say.  It matters little if these forms contradict themselves.  It matters little if it is difficult, even insurmountable.  In front of these images the eye and the spirit are free to unite themselves all over again.  The eyes feel the line, follow it without diverting the crisis that Otelo Fabiao presents in his drawings.  Simple drawings charged not with eloquence but with significance.  In living, in practising the detached observational practice of the flâneur, in erring, Otelo picks up words, slogans and morals that he reappropriates with the strike of the pencil.  The deep set expression that he has taken care to perfect does not retrace a story but moments of life under influence. To draw without pretence is to offer to the world the solution to his problems, he struggles hard to memorize, to let himself be invaded by the force of images and sounds which can be found to percolate in the street, in front of the television, on public transport.  On a sheet of paper he animates and composes pieces of choice which live in the ordinary, in our contrary spirits, forced to obey”.
Laetitia Laguzet. Excerpt from Gribouillages