Pre-text is a work created by André Alves for Momentum10 that exists both within Momentum kunsthall and in the public space of Moss. Pre-text is a continuation of a project he started in 2012 in which he finds texts in books and paints over the pages to capture words and phrases he wants to (but never can) remember forever. The context from which the words originated are thus vulnerable to new interpretations—or as Alves states, it’s an excuse to find something in the inner state of others, within their deeper motivations, that is our own.

Pre-text considers the troubled relationship of translating experiences into words, and in particular, how this relationship between experiences and words reflects the tension between the political and private emotions. On the large advertising light box inside Momentum kunsthall, Alves selected two phrases in order to stress this relationship: “Who cares about politics when there are flames licking at your insides?” and “Words had always represented a wholly unrealizable territory of the feelings, of the heart.” These phrases come from texts by Karl Ove Knausgård and Laurence Durrel.

On the walls surrounding the light box are an additional 200 phrases from books that Alves has painted into memory.

In addition to this installation, Alves has created 10 compositions for lightboxes that are placed around the city of Moss, posing the questions: “What do these words make you think about?” and, “How do you feel?” which gives the public the chance to react to them by sharing their responses by telephone and email. The responses will be documented on Momentum’s website and converted into an audio recording that will be continuously updated and played at the square outside of Moss’s town hall for the duration of the exhibition.

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What do these words you think?
What do they make you feel?
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André Alves (b. 1981) is a visual artist and currently a doctoral researcher in Artistic Practice at Valand Academy. He previously studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (2013-16), holds an MFA in Drawing from the University of Cincinnati (2011) under a Fulbright Fellowship, an MA in Art Education (2009) and a BFA (2005) from the University of Porto.

André Alves sees the waning of the political as shared concern tied to the acceptance of a fiction: the self-sufficient, autonomous and over-confident subject idealized within a competitive, reputational and accumulative economy. Through practice, Alves looks into the possibility to outdo such fiction, developing situations in which drawing, narration/text, and image-poem are used to unpack the increasing de-politicization of the shared social scene and the fragilization of an ethics of involvement.

Artist web page

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