RETRATO PROTEICO
A project by Marta de Menezes

Duration: October 4th / November 11th
Curated by: Inés Moreira

Author(s): Marta de Menezes

MARTAISAVELSWVRALRIVEIRDEMENESESDASILVAGRACA is the translation of the extense name of the artist in the sequence of amino acids forming the protein mARTA. The sequence includes her name, but also the name of her direct relatives (father, mother), as well as the last names of her husband. Also, it signals the story to which she belongs, her profile identity and her affective memory. The family name—a cultural convention—establishes here an interface with the biological micro-scale. The description of that new protein with her name—based on the scientific convention—is the membrane that doubles the structure of the protein mARTA and provides the different frames composing the portrait.

When producing the protein mARTA, the artist Marta de Menezes portraits herself in a complex weft of personal relationships that make reference to the identities she is part of. The project follows a clearly scientific protocol, affirmed with a positivist language in search of the molecular structure of the new, artificially created protein, which portraits her through her long name. However, whereas the protocol and language of Retrato Proteico belong to Science, the process and thoughts on the project clearly belong to the aesthetic domain and theoretical reflection.

Retrato Proteico has been formalised by means of an installation conceived as a laboratory. The installation makes use of photographs, texts, polycopied correspondence, videos, tools and scientific images to reconstruct the process that has allowed the visualisation of mARTA. Her author, Marta de Menezes (Lisbon, 1975) studied Fine Arts in the university of Lisbon, and later broadened her formation in Art History and Visual Culture in the University of Oxford. She was for a period of time an artist-in-residence of the College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London, and is an outstanding personality in the domain of bio-artistic research.