Ghob or The End is Near João Pedro Vale

10/05/2012 - 13/06/2012

For his second solo exhibition at Galeria Leme, João Pedro Vale presents a group of works based on popular beliefs and esoteric theories, which predict for December 21st, 2012, the end of the world as we know it, and the beginning of a new era. The exhibition is divided into two basic blocks: a series of films, realized together with Nuno Alexandre Ferreira, entitled “O Rei dos Gnomos” [King of Dwarf] or “King Ghob”, and a number of works related with the universe depicted in the films, which suggest possible readings and developments that take those mythologies as a starting point.

The starting point for the films is the real story of Francisco Leitão, a Portuguese who called himself King of Dwarfs, or King Ghob, appropriating the name of a mythological character who, according to popular beliefs, would have magical powers. Through homemade videos, published on Youtube, Leitão attracted youths to his home in the countryside, a castle-like building, full of dwarfs and mythological sculptures, mixed with Disney characters. Pretending he had magical powers, that could save them from the catastrophe that would storm the world in 2012, Leitão seduced the youths to join his sect, and into sexual relations. Francisco Leitão would eventually be charged with the death of 3 youths. Taking Leitão’s videos as a starting point, João Pedro Vale and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira created 24 short films, between 3 and 6-minutes long, where, using a non-linear narrative, they speculate on the processes that lead to the formation of communities and groups, and on the importance of symbols, rituals, and shared rules and sets of values.

The works exhibited alongside the film, produced in a wide range of techniques and medias, deal, more specifically, with the notion of illusion. Resembling small altars, or standards, they relate quite directly to specific parts of the movies, which in turn affect their interpretation. In fact, and coherently with the general theme, all the works propose, in a slightly ironical manner, a double reading, as if they hid the key to the observer’s salvation, or his perdition. Not unlikely what happened in previous works by João Pedro Vale, the images and the way they are built are revealed little by little, for example in the stereogram-based paintings, which reveal a different image behind their surface; or in the phosphorescent paintings, whose motifs are only revealed when the light is turned off; or else, in the lenticular prints, that can only be perceived by the eye when moving upon them; or in the works that appear to be made of mother-of-pearl, but are in fact painstaking constructions of food-wrapping film.

About the Artist

João Pedro Vale has had numerous exhibitions including solo shows at Fundação PLMJ, Lisbon; Nurtureart, New York; Museu do Chiado, Lisbon; Wuestenhagen Contemporary, Vienna; Museo de Arte Conteporáneo Union Fenosa, Spain and group exhibitions including Elipse Foundation, Portugal; Bienal de Portugal; Museo Patio Herreriano de Valladolid, Spain; Centre PasquArt, Swiss and Estação Pinacoteca, Brazil. His work can be seen in the current display of the permanent collection of Tate, London; Fundação de Serralves and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Portugal.