On the 16th of September 1964, Mário Cesariny is admitted to Fresnes prison, south of Paris, following his arrest for alleged «gross indecency». The two months he spent behind bars and the supposed motives for his detention remain to this day controversial and heavily disputed. In truth, little is known about this period except for his intense dedication to a small volume of confessional anecdotes, sketches and poem-collages.
Loving as the Road Begins was produced exclusively for maat. João Pedro Vale (b. 1976) and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira (b. 1973) first major work presented within a museum setting, the exhibition borrows its title from a poem-collage written by Cesariny in 1955 and explores a wide range of visual, cultural and artistic references the artists trace from the surrealistic movement and its legacy, but also from the first movements of queer activism and sexual liberation.
The artistic duo juxtaposed an amalgamation of objects and images in the creation of an installation on two levels — a structure that reminded us of an outsized collage or surrealist assemblage which, on one hand, may evoke cruising spots of the gay community, but on the other are also reminiscent of installations and infrastructures of public hygiene and sanitation, or prison cells and other elements of life behind bars.
The exhibition also incorporated a series of performances, conceived in a collaboration with choreographer João dos Santos Martins, which were to take place spontaneously and without prior warning — physical interactions which activate the space and imbue it and its objects with new layers of meaning and interpretation, in a process of permanent and continuous amplification, and transformation.