(@Gonçalo Rosa da Silva in Expresso 11/12/2015)
Today I was taken by surprised. Rui Chafes, my favourite sculptor won the 2015 Pessoa Prize, the most important artistic award in Portugal.
This quote epitomizes what Chafes means to me:
"Sou um mero artesão dessas vozes superiores que me dizem para fazer formas que não entendo"
In Expresso Newspaper, 12/12/2015.
(I am a mere craftsman of those higher voices telling me to make shapes that I do not understand)
“Was Soll ich tun wenn du nicht da bist? Rui Chafes, 2004, Iron, Germany, Museum Folkwang Essen)
His interest in German culture, pervades not only on his visual work but also other areas as well. His translation, for example, of the "Fragments of Novalis" is still one of my most precious discoveries translation-from-the-German-wise. Just one of the fragments:
Welten bauen genügt nicht dem tiefer langenden Sinne.
Aber ein liebendes Herz sättigt den strebenden Geist.
(Construir mundos não basta ao espírito que vai ao fundo das coisas.
Mas um coração enamorado sacia o espírito nostálgico, translation in “Fragmentos de Novalis” by Rui Chafes)
For the benefit of my English-speaking friends, here goes my paraphrased translation:
"Building worlds does not satisfy the spirit that looks for the deeper meaning in things.
But a loving heart quenches the nostalgic spirit."
His work, i.e., translations from and into German and the work with iron, lead me into a nostalgic, romantic, lyrical and sublime universe. This universe, which is of German romanticism is embedded in a classical culture. Chafes’ work fights against our own lack of spirituality in the world we experience in our everyday lives. I ask for nothing more.