"Help, I can´t feel anything. Neither fear, nor heat, nor fire. I won´t be able to cry anymore, or laugh. Help, can any soul, even one in pain, lend me its suffering. I can no longer feel love nor pain; I can´t feel anything anymore. Help, someone give me a heart, because this one no longer beats nor feels. Please, a tiny emotion, anything. Anything that can be felt. There is so much feeling, some of it must do. Help, may some street give me meaning, at any crossroads, halt or junction. Help, I can´t feel anything anymore." Arnaldo Antunes and Alice Ruiz

We could point out three principles that stand out as a parti pris in all of the work by the artist Pedro Tudela: the conjunction of several superimposed visual elements, as a beginning; the use of the media (painting, video, photography and object) as the intersection of the plastic discourse; and human perception raised to the category of the sublime, as an aim. Using the sharp eye of a scientist, Tudela knows that an image never comes twice, and that it would be perhaps better to mimic it. In his search or aim, he makes art his supreme value of communion with his species. He then generally divides his panegyric with everyone in order to alleviate existential pain. Because the only way to stop that pain, the only effective remedy, is death, as expressed by philosophy. Or even irony, as the technicians of the absurd presented (one should recall Diogenes as a pioneer of this). For the artist, that "petite mort", that supreme joy, is art.

Discovery of the world takes place through its pores, ears, nostrils, retinas and mouth, orifices that open up and absorb what comes from the outside, but which reveal their entrails as they open up in order to receive. As an artist, Pedro Tudela acts like someone who is never going to relate what he has seen, heard or felt; he only gives hints, leaving the observer to understand for himself. Because the type of things he sees is indeed never able to be told, so it is better to organise what he sees into a set of artistic practices that we call objects of art, the aim of which - if it should have one - is to pull us out of our immobility.

The whole of his work stands as a collage of media: visual, tactile and auditive, configured within a poetics of their own, the objective of which is to demonstrate the whole problematic of the self in this world stripped of its identity. But he does not do this in a self-depicting or referential manner, as some artists do. No, he does it in a collective way, as if the subject of his discourse were collectivised, which acts as a plague, an epidemic, something common to humanity, such as idiocy, greed, avarice, the diseases and ills of the body and of the soul.

We know how much the act of coming to know one´s body is a war of impulses, of nerves and of escape routes. In Tudela´s work these routes of accidents and hospital metaphors are "other ways of stating that anguish (or that despair) of a deaf revolt that does not seek satisfaction in the hope placed in singing tomorrows", as stated by the critic Bernardo Pinto de Almeida on Tudela´s work (1).

The mixture of painting, photography, drawing and object takes on the pulsing of sound, contaminating the territory of representation with a real or (electronically) created sound; thus exhibiting the fury proper to the body, its noises, its intakes, its parching, its resentments and its repressing, questioning the corporeal nature, the carnality of things, that which exists appearing as pain, fear and anguish - sensations felt by the body and which reverberate deeply in the hollow space.

This visual scope produces synthetic images in the brain of the observer, which seem to be the result of an aesthetic rationality that is already undergoing in the treatment of its representations. What is at stake in this game of mirrors is similarity, as art is not an imposing of representation of images generated by nature. That division died with renaissance classicism, as it is above all a baroque stage of ecstasy and terror, of human transfiguration. It is the paroxysm of the phenomenological minds that see similarity as the result of perception, not its motive.

His visual-sound experiment in pt 12072001rj can only be understood as an experience of the place. What happens when someone moves from one place? Does he take with him the tics of his culture? Does he incorporate new ways of living from this place? Does he mix these two perspectives and generate a new, powerful creative force, which all cultures need in order to remain alive? And the artist, imbued with his sublime mission as the conscience of time, of the duration of life, of the ephemeral nature of civilisations, seeks to draw up a history of his time...

The artist does not write for the present that is happening, he is indebted to posterity. In this Schopenhauerian dilemma, the past-that-has-lived rivals with the present-that-is-happening and the future that is so craved. But the future is part of the work and time is a criterion, a clock and a poetic figuration... Then there is the body, marking out its steps towards decay, and at the same time achieving the immeasurable. The sublime is only time itself, which is repeated in bodies, fractals, gases, intakes of the earth being transformed. The body is never the same; it only traces out its marks and its essence. The artist apprehends time, the body and duration as eternity, taking them, taking power over them like Saturn with his children. Universality in space has its equivalent in the body, which is sublime as it is sublime for all men and for eternity.

Pedro Tudela´s work pt 12072001rj seeks that communion between time and space, between experience and living, between that which is written and that which is being written... In a certain sense it seeks to state the wretchedness of life, as Nietzsche would have it, as it is in the meanness of everyday things that man is found, and is conceived of. Tudela´s personal cartography may cross borders, oceans and civilization, because it clings to the retina, it echoes in the eardrum. It writes history and conceives of an odyssey as the record of a changeable, swift-moving, fragmented, shattered time, far beyond the Baudelairean Spleen, which gives way to the reference of times gone by.

His work refers us to artistic practices according to the now volatile time in which we live, as pointed out to us by Paul Virilio, in The Computer Bomb(2), on the danger of the bomb-machines of our time. And then another perception becomes urgent, not a semi-new one, but another one, one that helps us to understand contemporary phenomena like body modification, trans-sexuality and the physiology of differentiated tastes. Science today is at the service of human desires and not the contrary, as it has overcome all the barriers that social or religious morals wished to maintain. Its commitment today is to the ethics of what I want to be and not what nature has granted me. That is the indissoluble truth of today´s life. Genetic science has inherited, like all human activity, the need to deconstruct political, cultural, ethical and artistic values and practices that do not accept human desires, no matter how incomprehensible they may seem.

The works of the artist Pedro Tudela take on titles and meanings connected to the issue of the body, or of existence to be more correct, and are examples of a work committed to the search to unite phonetics with visuality, as if we could, simply through their titles, visualise them automatically, feel them, touch them, like the cerebral impulses of the visually deficient. In their essence they contextualise that which is permeable to the touch, to the eye, to the sense of smell, like narratives of banal things. In this way, Pedro Tudela constructs a world of visible realities created from his own need.

(1)Almeida, Bernardo Pinto, Visual Violence and Language Crisis - a Generation without Metalanguage?, in "Transition - Cyclops, Mutants, Apocalyptics (the New Artistic Landscape at the end of the XX Century)"; Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 2003. (2)Virilio, Paul, The Computer Bomb, São Paulo: Estação Liberdade, 1998.

Translation from Portuguese by David Alan Prescott