Be My Guest 5

Vítor Pomar

Be My Guest 5, 1988

Since the 1970s, photography has occupied a vital position in Pomar’s practice, shaping a distinctive body of work. Sharing some of its characteristics with Vítor Pomar’s abstract paintings, known for the spontaneity and the looseness of their gesture and the rejection of western values connected to the construction of vision through knowledge and reason, also Pomar’s photographs are born from the reflection on the limits of reason and discursive thought. Pomar’s approach to photography can be best described as observation of daily life. Through capturing random objects and subjects, we are invited to reintegrate other possibilities of the mind, such as introspection, intuition, or spontaneity. It was, in fact, precisely spontaneity that brought Pomar to first experiment with the medium in the ’70s, while at the time, fully involved with painting. Although painting allowed Pomar to explore and develop ideas around what he calls “pure perception”, the mere moment of vision before conceptualization and naming, only the immediacy of photography allowed Pomar to capture and preserve these moments through the photographic medium.

Rejecting the idea of a perfect frame, and instead characteristic for what Pomar calls the receptive gaze, we are allowed to rest our eyes on fleeting moments, the reality and rawness of which embody critical characteristics of our own existence. While many of Pomar’s early black and white photographs have removed the identity of the depicted, his color photographs approach the subject in a more direct manner. Their composition and frame become less ambiguous and more aggressive, challenging through their performativity the limits of intimacy while allowing us further into the image. Regardless, Pomar’s photographs are not voyeuristic, and in fact, his subjects bear close ties to the artist’s life, may they be objects from his immediate surrounding or people close to the artist, enabling him to capture his subjects with familiarity and intimacy, despite the universality of what their reading might represent.

The work of Vítor Pomar (1949) has been exhibited at the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Chiado 8 Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Oporto, Portugal, Culturgest, Lisbon or the Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon among other. His work is represented in private and public collections including the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Serralves Museum, Oporto; Ministry of Culture, Lisbon; EDP Electricity Museum, Lisbon; Luso-American Foundation for Development, Lisbon; Caixa Geral de Depósitos Collection, Lisbon; Ar.Co, Lisbon; Ministry of Finance, Lisbon; among others.