• Under the sign of Jupiter – Synopsis

    In Under the sign of Jupiter, Paulo Simão provokes us, opens the door to restlessness and, at first, seems to take us to unknown territory, a place ruled by what is not familiar to us and where our need to create sense is called into question, disarming us. This initial startle is, however, simply a gateway to a visual essay which, more than reflecting on the current historical and social moment, confronts us with the Great Power, its portentous tentacles and how we passively watch populisms, dictatorships or strongly manipulative nationalisms take shape. By appropriating ten images with the hands of political leaders (from India, Pakistan, USA, Russia, North Korea, Turkey, Venezuela, China, Israel and Iran), presenting them purposely manipulated, pixelated, and by cropping them, limiting our visual field to little more than these prodigious and diffuse Divine Hands, Simão offers us a critical polysemy that deeply contrasts with the univocal language the Great Power intends to install. Today we move between reality and artifice, between the concrete and the digital, between the absolute truth and what can be a lie - the path is uncertain and its borders are unclear. It is in this air du temps that Jupiter, god of gods, brilliant god, father god, strong and just god, appears to come to our aid, bringing comfort and balance and, above all, a narrative that is easy to follow. Simão knows it and masterfully plays with it, uses the same weapons for opposing ends, shows it by hiding, manipulates it to make us think, crops to widen the view, censures to make us realise we are the ones being censored and so is the world we have access to. Under the sign of Jupiter does not offer a narrative, but it suggests several, it makes us unease, it impels us to think and to act. Ana Valentim