PRINT November 1988


That art is non-conceptual in character seems to me self-evident; for what makes possible a work of art is not simply a good translation of ideas, but the capability of “somehow” betraying those ideas.

—Leonel Moura

AT FIRST GLANCE, WE MAY think Leonel Moura’s art is conceptual, that it is simply a good translation of ideas into the realm of the visual. On deeper examination, we find his “betrayals,” as he takes into account both the field of language and the field of icons, but ultimately escapes the self-referentialism of both. In Moura’s manipulations of images and words, objectivity and subjectivity are the two terms at stake. A variety of “objective” facts and preexisting ideas—philosophical, political, moral, esthetic—take their place in this work. Through a “subjectivity,” however, that refuses to take anything for granted, Moura succeeds in offering us, in any given work, multiple

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