Hugo Israel (Lisbon, 1978) is a multifaceted, provoking, and contradictory artist, who as an agent of creation engages with interdisciplinary arts to challenge the rules in which the subjectivity of the public’s appreciation for art rests.
Having completed a postgraduate course in Strategic Communication & Media Advising, his professional career —on top of having written on performative arts and dance for urban culture magazines— stems from the fields of advertising and mass media. Via platforms such as photography, performances & installations, the artist uses his body to explore the mediations of his ego and to transcend its conditions while creating works of autobiographic influence.
Ranging from pop art to visual poetics, using contrast and provocation, his works provide means for interacting with the performativity of the “ego”, reflecting on universal concepts such as love, the human ego, trauma, and the diverse shades of emptiness created by juxtaposition, all of which were ideas first explored in his collection of poems Amor ah Tona (2007) under the pseudonym Hugo Villier.
The body is his main means of expression, be it in performance or photography, his own or others’. This is demonstrated in Under Bible, where he considers how important faith in oneself is in order to achieve self-fulfillment, or in Girls Can Be Nasty, which discovers the redemption hidden in the pain of rapturous feminine bodies.
This is the energy that his art imbues. For example, works such as Garden of Eden, where the artist portrays tedious rejection caused by the fugacity of homosexuality, or Where Is My Placenta?, in which he reflects upon how could one bear the pain caused by teen pregnancy and if the decision of ending it prematurely could be justified.
His artistic productions have been extended towards more participative methods of engaging with the urban space and the subjectivity of its residents. Consider, for example, Burnout —Prato do Dia, where attendees broke plates, which bore their daily written frustrations, against the wall, or also Desdormir, where attendees wrote down the thoughts that keep them awake at night and ultimately watched them burn. The result is always simple but overt, an exercise of sublimation that stems from the darkest places of the human sentiment.