Pretext: Heteronyms

  1. Pretext: Heteronyms - Press release
  2. Fernando Pessoa: The Man Who Never Was

Stephen Carter, Andrea Fisher, Pamela Golden, John Goto, John Hyatt, Janis Jeffries, Peter Kennard, Joan Key, Jiri Kratochvil, Rosa Lee, Avis Newman, Roxane Permar, Anne Tallentire, John Seth, Amikam Toren, Suzanne Treister, Caterina Sabam, Yuko Shiraishi, John Stezaker, Richard Wentworth and Anonymous

5 November – 10 December 1995

Rear Window, Clink Street Studios, 1 Clink Street, London SE1

The idea for the exhibition Pretext: Heteronyms was inspired by the plural identities or heteronyms invented by the modernist Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935). The heteronyms represented Pessoa’s coterie of fictional avant-garde writers, characters that would form part of a complex inter-textual narrative.

In Pretext: Heteronyms, 21 contemporary artists have embarked upon a Pessoan adventure by creating original art works through the inventions of their own heteronyms. Their tactics have prompted some to change their nationality, others their language, age or even their gender. Such transfigurations have offered the artists a space for renewal to rediscover themselves in their potential obliteration.

At a time when so much art curatorship emphasises pathology and negation, this exhibition is unusual in its conviction that experiments with artistic identity can still yield bold discovery, Artists daring enough to participate have expanded the frontiers of the heteronymic project into regions of uncertainty beyond the traditional assumptions of the Self and Other. The familiar protocols of Curatorship have been abandoned, biography questioned and reinvented and authenticity re-described.

Heteronyms: A.A.A., R. L. Aret, Joseph Luke Nathaniel Baldwin, Vokh Biely (Oleg Kalatozov), Rosalind Brodsky, Mary-Anne Clay, Echolalia, Joanne Felix, Tessi Grabenstein, Red Herring, Prof. Frederico Ieri, Josef, Kaden Rae Mee, Nikolai Panov or Boris Molchanov, Juan Pesadilla, Josef Schuster, Dan Stone, Reinhard Villanous and Gerry Windrim.

Exhibition curated by Juliet Steyn (Rear Window), and Richard Appignanesi.

An illustrated catalogue is available. It includes an introduction by Juliet Steyn and essays by Richard Appignanesi and Stella Santacatterina.