Paulo Aureliano da Mata (Cia. Excessos), Romance Violentado [Abused Romance] (Triptych), from Chapter 1: Romance Violentado [Abused Romance], in Mata’s Book. Body art realized at Porto, Portugal. January 2011. Photos by Daniel Polari, 60 x 40 cm each. Edition: 5 + 2 P.A.
Paulo Aureliano da Mata (Cia. Excessos), Romance Violentado [Abused Romance], from Chapter 1: Romance Violentado [Abused Romance], in Mata’s Book. Body art realized at Porto, Portugal. January 2011. Photo by Daniel Polari, 60 x 40 cm. Edition: 5 + 2 P.A.
For M. B. C., who deluded me and made me strong enough, causing me to acquire a fucking scar on my waist; for C. C. A. P., who, at the heist of her despair, was capable of sending more than sixty text messages from my cell to her Platonic beloved; and, finally, for P. C. V. V., who discovered that her former relationship was worth as much as the brass ring she was given at the beginning of the affair.
This performance happened at the Para Sempre Tattoos studio in the city of Porto, Portugal, in 2011.
I instruct a drawer to create a typeface for the “Romance Violentado” [Abused Romance] tattoo. Then I take this drawing to the tattoo artist.
I point a spot on my right arm to the tattoo artist to engrave the title of the work and I then lie down so that I can be marked.
In this performance, I allude to external marks such as tattoos that “people who are in love” supposedly get done in order to exhibit their love, and to internal ones, such as the pain and abandonment feelings generated in these marked individuals. This action allegorically binds to the novel In the Penal Colony, by Franz Kafka, in which the author, according to Beatriz Ferreira Pires, in O Corpo como Suporte na Arte [The Body as Prop in Art], “Describes precisely a torture device that tattoos the person’s body the sentence for the crime committed. […] The tattoo is used for pervading the offender’s body with a phrase pertaining the reason that sentenced him to death. The intellectual understanding of the accusation is not enough; the sensory one is also needed.”
The Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, in his book Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human Bonds, points out that Ralph Waldo Emerson says: “When skating on thin ice, your salvation is speed” and “You tend to seek redemption in quantity” of ephemeral relationships. With this affirmation, we can say that the synchronicity of external and internal marks in this work of mine allude to common values that were perverted in relationships with the advent of social networks (Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
When my tattoo is finished, I leave the studio.
-> A cor social desse capítulo é very dark gray (em hexadecimal #6C6C6C; ou em RGB: vermelho 108, verde 108, azul 108).
Conception & Body Artist: Paulo Aureliano da Mata | Sound & Video: Tales Frey | Tattoo Artist: César Figueiredo – Para Sempre Tattoos (Porto, Portugal) | Photo Record: Daniel Polari | Tattoo Typeface: Paulo Aureliano da Mata and Miguel Ambrizzi | Realization: Cia. Excessos | Porto, Portugal 2011
 Sob (Ul)Trajes e Gozos. Curated by Suianni Macedo. Museu Júlio Dinis – Uma Casa Ovarense, Ovar, Portugal.
 Brasil: Ficciones. Curated by Laurem Crossetti. Espacio Tangente, Burgos, Spain.
 Em Estado de Guerra. Organization and curated by Cia. Excessos (Paulo Aureliano da Mata and Tales Frey). Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente, Coimbra, Portugal.
 18th International Biennial Art of Cerveira: Look at the past to build the future. Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal.
 TRANS[acto]#01/2015. Curated by Isabel Maria Dos. Coimbra, Portugal.
 Rapid Pulse Festival Performance Art 2015: Video Series. Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Chicago, United States.
 (Tra)vestir um Fa(c)to. Curated by José Maia. MIRA space, Porto, Portugal.
 Amor Marginal. Curated by Susana Rodrigues and Ana D’Almeida. Center for Art and Architecture Affairs, Guimarães, Portugal.
 Brasil: Ficções. Curated by Laurem Crossetti. Armazém do Chá, Porto, Portugal.
 Beija-me. Organization and curated by Cia. Excessos (Paulo Aureliano da Mata and Tales Frey). Amor Diverso, SESC Ribeirão Preto, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.
 Orexia. Curated by Tales Frey (Cia. Excessos). Barracão Maravilha, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
 Moda e Religiosidade em Registros Corporais. Organization and curated by Tales Frey (Cia. Excessos). Corpo Hospedeiro, SESC Rio Preto, São José do Rio Preto, SP, Brazil.
 Corpo (i)materializado. Curated by Paulo Aureliano da Mata and Tales Frey. Mostra Performatus #1, Central Galeria de Arte, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
 Moda e Religiosidade em Registros Corporais. Organization and curated by Tales Frey (Cia. Excessos). Performance, SESC Campinas, SP, Brazil.
 Moda e Religiosidade em Registos Corporais. Organization and curated by Tales Frey (Cia. Excessos). Center for Art and Architecture Affairs, Guimarães, Portugal.
Paulo Aureliano da Mata (Cia. Excessos), Romance Violentado [Abused Romance], from Chapter 1: Romance Violentado [Abused Romance], in Mata’s Book, 2011. Video, 4’30’’. Edition: 5 + 2 P.A.
LETTER #1: from C. C. A. P. to M. A. A. F.
… I live this irremediable ailment that is the love I feel for you,
but I live my life as if I were alive
living with the silence of the dead…
LETTER #2: from P. C. V. V. to J.
Our love started like a midsummer’s night dream, actually, it was winter, and maybe that chill in my spine was due solely to the cold, and my goose flesh was lack of warmth, warmth that heats the soul and casts away the solitude of my days.
The flirtation and casual dancing meant a dazzling of seduction or were they really like an exorcism of forbidden love, another love that would not blossom either.
When I saw another love leaving me, I gave myself entirely to this one, I was yours and it was beautiful to be yours, it was delightful to be desired and loved. You then partially completed an emptiness, and I did not know it was there. You came like youth, angry and thirsty.
We were fountain and thirst, comfort and love for cold nights and warm days. When we burnt in that love, we surrendered and then we were one, I did not quite understand what meant to be one, we found ourselves as one after four months.
Then, I got to know unconditional love, yes, a mother’s love tasted for the first time, unique. Then wounds started to make the relationship bleed. The proof of any love is in partnership, when you reach out your hand when you are in trouble and tenderness is expected to follow.
On the moon phases, we wrote our story as three: me, you, and us. We did not know anything about love, we did not know anything about being there for each other, we did not know anything about self-sufficiency, we did not know anything about cultivating and persisting in love.
I loved us, and I loved you, but love, when it is this childish and needy, is demanding, is categorical; it got lost in the fog of cold mornings. We lost ourselves when what we wanted most was to be that that our own stories (when we were still daughter and son) were not.
Nine months went by, then I ripened like a flower in a greenhouse, I know my thorns have hurt you, you left wounded and I in pieces. However, the most beautiful flower sprouted from me, the only thing to endure from our love.
When I felt that baby in my arms, a fruit of us both, I realized things that you could not see and, thus, I went on to be mother and wife. However, there were moments when I felt I had two children.
Then, torn to pieces by my carnation’s changeability, I decided to leave him; I just wanted protection and understanding. Our tragic end. We wanted the same thing and we were not capable of reading our looks and faces of desperation for love. Love that at that time was a purulent throbbing painful boil.
Then, I understood I loved him, but it was not enough to love, I wanted a partner, I wanted a mirror image of my intensity, I wanted something you could not be. I could no longer find the safety of a family in your eyes. And I demanded something you would never be able to give me.
Then I hurt you, your exaggerated proud macho ego paid back in my own coin. When I felt the blood dripping, I went wild, we would never be the same. Then anger, hate coagulated the blood in that bondage.
I kept that blood covered wedding ring as an inglorious trophy so I would never forget that, without understanding, there is no love, only a bitter aftertaste of the past and a scar on the soul.
I kept that wedding ring with my encrusted blood for many years. When I decided to move to Rio, to look for a placid love for my soul and my heart, I went to a goldsmith and found out it was worth nothing and I though: it was worth as much as our love.
I will never forget, you were tattooed on me in the form of another life that I see growing everyday and that you still use to tear apart this rose who found another rose for her garden.
Sketch of the Romance Violentado [Abused Romance] typeface (2010), by Paulo Aureliano da Mata (Cia. Excessos) and Miguel Ambrizzi, 17,5 x 12,1 cm
Paulo Aureliano da Mata (Cia. Excessos) apresenta a obra Romance Violentado (2011) na exposição (Tra)Vestir um Fa(c)to (2015) no Espaço MIRA na cidade do Porto em Portugal
No One Ever Forgets Their First Love
It is interesting to be able to comment on a performance whose whole process I was able to witness, from its genesis to its conclusion, and I say this because I am not sure it is actually concluded – I will explain it further later. And I can say I took an active part in it, as in a first moment Paulo needed photos of exes, maybe to prove to himself that many of his friends, maybe all of them, had also gone through a Romance Violentado [Abused Romance]. Since I have had a few, I sent him some photos, under the condition that my image would not be shown in the process. I am pretty sure this was the same reaction of most, maybe all, of those who sent him photos of their “ex-somethings.” I believe that, at that moment, Paulo started to realize that his action had to have many different implicit parts, either the faces on the photographs, all the phases that were considered and discarded, or the action itself that can only be contemplated by being recorded.
Romance Violentado [Abused Romance] is an implicit performance, behind a tattoo, on the body of the performer. In this mark the whole performance is is hidden, or better still, is implicit, all of its stages (performance photos, the wailing tree, laments, costumes, installations, iPods, viewers, cut table, unending phases…). Paulo realized the tattoo was enough on its own, that external mark, as he himself refers to it, to represent the process as a whole, with its comings and goings, highs and lows, sufferings and joys that art is capable of offering to the those who resort to it in order to understand both their own experience and that of humanity as a whole.
I will explain now why, for me, that said performance is not concluded, and maybe will never be as: just like all Romances Violentados [Abused Romances], it will always reemerge in the life and work of this performer; not only on his skin, but also because this was the first performance he conceived – and we all know that no one ever forgets their first love.
Romance Violentado [Abused Romance] (2011), by Paulo Aureliano da Mata (Cia. Excessos) in 18th International Biennial Art of Cerveira: Look at the past to build the future. Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal, 2015. Photo by Tales Frey
Romance Violentado [Abused Romance], a Title that Is a Book in Itself
This text by Ana Hupe was published in: eRevista Performatus (Year 2, no. 9, March 2014, ISSN 2316-8102).
Abused romance carries many footnotes. The amount of asterisks is greater than the amount of text. Only two words, a sole gesture and a whole book comprising nothing but footnotes.
To romantically abuse your body, having a tattoo made, is metalanguage that also works as metaphor for the many romances we abuse and are abused throughout our lives. It seems like it is a ritual celebrating the end, marking a transition on the skin: from a cut, the scab of healing is a little of you detaching from me, until it is completely healed, with only a shadow left, so I will never forget. It is a monument of your non-love for me, pages torn, crumpled into balls thrown in the trash; only the title remains. Like the Germans who leave memories of war on every corner in Berlin; so it will not happen again.
To mark on your body the transitions of a state in itself to another was a habit of our Native ancestors. The Tupinambás warriors and others, who had cannibalism as part of their culture, would change their names when they captured a prisoner who was going to be eaten by the village. After they brought the captive in, they went on retreat and spent months away. During that meditative time of isolation, they would slowly transform the drawings on their bodies and, when they came back to their peers, they would acquire a new name. They would get new drawings on their bodies and would be renamed again and again, as many times as they would capture an enemy. To capture an enemy for an honorable death and to understand through drawings on their own bodies the change caused on themselves.
The Tupinambá language distinguishes, in its narrative, one’s own experiences and those experimented by someone else. Those Natives distinguished knowledge acquired through the senses and knowledge acquired through someone else’s direct or indirect experiences. The body’s memory is carefully considered. The adventures through which one’s body goes through are marked in that person, they will transpire in their speech, in their behavior; they are attached to that personality.
I know nothing about the origins of tattoos in civilization; it is possible that they emerged from the drawings of the Natives on their bodies. However, their usage today is much more aesthetic, as if it were a piece of clothing. The artist Paulo Aureliano da Mata uses tattoos as eternal reminders. I do not know the reasons that led him to this ritual. He was absolutely available for clarification, but I did not want to talk; I wanted to extract the pure indentation on the trunk myself and think about all the possibilities it entailed. The apparent simplicity of this work, a tattoo, is nothing but the title of a book, and it is laudable when an artist writes a book with nothing but his action. It is not easy to act as a film editor for your own stuff, cutting, in the process of constructing your work, what should be left aside, highlighting what really matters. Paulo left aside all adjectives, repeated words, grammar, spelling; he revealed to us nothing but the title and left carrying the footnotes under his arm.