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28 Feb 2010

'Faustus' by Jose Rufino at Palacio da Aclamacao, Salvador Bahia

© Jose Rufino

Jose Rufino: 'Faustus'
Board of the Institute of the Artistic and Cultural Heritage of Bahia

Palacio da Aclamacao


Site specific work of the artist José Rufino opens Dimus - BA's 2010 calendar of shows
Until 28.03.2010
Tue - Fri : 10h - 18h
Sat - Sun : 13h - 17h

Free entrance

Marcelo Campos
+55 71 3117 6051

Palacio da Aclamacao
Av Sete de Setembro, 1330, Campo Grande
Salvador Bahia 40.080-001

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Bones casted in plaster and pieces of antique furniture composes the work created by the artist from Paraíba José Rufino in the exhibition 'Faustus', on display at the Palácio da Aclamação (Palace of Acclamation) (Campo Grande, Salvador, Bahia), starting January 19th of this year. The site specific installation encourages reflection on the memory and the past of the space itself. The exhibition is organized by the Board of the Institute of the Artistic and Cultural Heritage of Bahia and opens the 2010 calendar of shows which will offer a dialogue between visual arts and the architecture of the Palace.

In the installation, inspired by the renaissance drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, are present the representations of the foot, hand, skull and other parts of a skeleton equivalent to what would be a man of 22 meters. 'The installation forms a chimera of fragments from table columns, legs and backs of chairs and beds ornaments assuming the condition of bones, which completes itself with a huge bone implant of plaster,' said Rufino. The title Faustus was inspired from the homonymous character of the German author Wolfgang von Goethe and is an adjective of Latin origin (faustus), which relates to ostentation, luxury and magnificence, remitting to the splendor of the Palácio da Aclamação. At the same time, it refers to the figure of Faust, repeatedly portrayed in European literature.

The artist modeled the parts and proposed its distribution at the Salão Nobre do Palácio (Noble Hall of the Palace), to reveal his own emotions and arouse on the viewers possible recollections and memories. 'Faustus suggests revitalization in the sense of introducing an audience that, at many times, never entered the Palace before and doesn't know its history. At the same time, his work raises issues of memory: what is heritage? What should be stored and recalled? Why should we preserve and remember?' says the exhibition's curator, Marcelo Campos.

The site specific elements were organized to deliver a breakthrough feeling. 'The same way memory arises disorderly, fragmented, the skeleton of José Rufino appears exhumed - someone who, in the metaphor, was found in the Palace and collects all the memory elements of the environment - blossoms piece by piece,' summarizes Rufino. 'Showing Rufino, at this point, is very appropriate because he works from the memory of place and its people, creating high-powered visual installations that combine his artistic sensitivity and his scientific knowledge,' explains Daniel Rangel, Museum Director of IPAC.

The exhibition Faustus can be visited, free entrance, Tuesday through Friday, from 10am to 6pm, and on weekends and holidays from 1pm to 5pm, until March 28th. Location: Palácio da Aclamação- Av Sete de Setembro, 1330, Campo Grande, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Information: (71) 3117-6150 (Portuguese only) and at

Faustus – by José Rufino

'You can't ever reach what you do not feel, otherwise it pierces the soul' (Faust Zero – Goethe)

The exhibition Faustus, from Jose Rufino, at the Palácio da Aclamação, is part of a network of events that´s been happening for one year. Daniel Rangel, Museum Director of IPAC, invited the artist to occupy the palace. The artist from Paraíba, José Rufino, therefore, initiated the project. 'What to do in a palace situated in a cosmopolitan city in the XXI century?' Outside, the grandeur of the tropical landscape, Bahia, the northeastern breeze, the splendor of the city in gentile and buildings. Inside, the pomp of the first capital, the luxury of the Palácio da Aclamação filled with decorations, tableware, furniture. Before this scenario, Rufino thought about the exhumation. What could exist of past and memory in those luxury rooms? So he sought the spirit of the place, to highlight the magnificence of the palace, referring to a body, a giant made of plaster and wood.

Faustus, the Latin word means opulence. Faustus, name of the character whom already started to draw himself by great team. Faust, protagonist of Goethe's literature. Parts, tortuously, tried to fit. In Goethe's Faust, one of the key issues is the search for the knowledge of life, the desire to know the meaning of things. At all times Faust declares this anguish. Wagner, another character in this story, tries to show Faust another side, the 'great delight' of the 'holidays' or to travel to the past, studying the wise. Faust retorts: 'My friend, the times of the past are for us a book with seven keys'.

Rufino's art is a relentless attempt, voracious, of searching for these keys in the past, what was saved, in the dust of time. On the wood's detritions, in the furrows, the asymmetric shapes, even if duplicated by twin spots, Rufino sees a possibility to emerge in the relationship between memory and oblivion, worship and destruction. Faustus is the result of intense research in Bahia's archives of furniture. There we were, in the opulent Baroque Bahia, of the oratories, the chests, cradles, urban and domestic furniture. As scientific gesture, but admittedly imprecise, the project gives itself to a destiny which not even the artist controls. There is his art, in the relationship between people and places.

The work, different from what we might perceive, does not announce itself ready in thought before action. On the phone, he, the artist, recites, for me, a bit of Faust: 'We resist the old methods and I do not feel adapted to the new; I must now have a bunch of followers to do the job of one.' This is also Rufino's creation, a vague thought to connect to the surroundings, to the stories of places, heading out and observing this 'bunch of followers' that surrounds the production of his thoughts. Here we are Daniel, Gusmao, Naiara, Bryan, Saskia, Leticia, Márcio André, Gei, the plasterers (Ricardo and Luis) and I, in the imprecise search for a puppet, a character to take the castle, the palace, out of the darkness, to exhume, even if in a vague vision, hindered, the Faustus in the Salão Nobre.

Marcelo Campos - curator.


Campos, Haroldo. Deus e o diabo no Fausto de Goethe: marginalia fáustica. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 2005.
Goethe, J. W. Fausto Zero, tradução Christine Röhrig. São Paulo: Cosac & Naify, 2001.
Pessoa, Fernando. Primeiro Fausto, São Paulo: Iluminuras, 1996.