Studio Talks with João Abreu

João Abreu is a particular intriguing artist due to the singularity of his work. Photography, Drawing, Audio, Sculpture, Video, Performance… he wants to explore, in a very bold way, the possibility to transpose sound to visible matter!

We have visited João’s studio, whose projection has been materializing in various collective exhibitions, attendances in cinema festivals, and we talked about himself of course!

Which item from your studio is essential for you?

Each space, each item, each tool is important throughout the construction process of my work. However, there is this small closed closet, displaced from all the dust and sawdust. Inside I keep all the electric and sound material that I use for the sound sculptures. Since the exploration of sound is one of the most important actions of my work, this closet is essential in my studio.

Is there a space dedicated to art that you haven’t visited yet but you would really like to?

MoMA…”New York, New York // I want to wake up in a city// That never sleeps.”

Which artwork would you wish to buy?

If I could I would invite Bill Fontana to make an artwork on the garden of my house…

What do you do when you have an artist’s block?

I usually draw or record environmental sound. Sometimes it’s from those small random recordings that my pieces grow.


 The program “Youth in Action” allowed you to get to know a variety of countries and socio-cultural realities. In which way did these interchanges influence your work?

Undoubtedly, getting to know new cultures and countries is very important to open up our perspective about the world a bit. On these programs all types of topics were discussed among walks, meetings, and courses. Besides that, different cultures have different daily sonorities.

Photography, drawing, audio, sculpture, video, performance… Why have you been feeling the need to experiment so many artistic mediums, and avoiding a focus on just one?

Deep down I’m looking for the different ways of turning sound, an invisible matter, in visible matter. The representation can be made in any kind of medium, material or technique. The purpose is to get to a perfect representation e not to the object represented (the tangible piece).

Which artistic variants give you more pleasure to develop?

I like to tinker with matter. I like to male dust, use machines, cut, break, scrape. I can spend hours around a small wooden box trying to turn it smooth and soft. I lose the same amount on time on the construction and on the finishing. But there is always a detail that takes much longer to finish than the rest of piece.

Is Portugal a good country for emerging artists?

Portugal and Porto in particular are good places to work. There are cheap materials and the stores that sell those are in the city center, which facilitates the production. The rents are low and the artistic culture is in great development. Plus today, with the internet, it is easy to be up to date and it is possible to be in touch with artists from other countries. And, of course, the sun and beer also helps a lot…