His enigmatic and mysterious sculptures are almost always made of iron, painted black, with an uncommon coherence and rigour which, to paraphrase the artist, are shadows or negatives of a world that imprisons emptiness, silence in its most absolute form: cocoons, nests, insects, armour, masks or elements of clothing represent both a memory and a skin that protect and testify to an absent body. In essence, Chafes seeks to achieve immateriality and represent the invisible, defying the limits of iron and the imponderable.

Rui Chafes was born in Lisbon in 1966. Between 1990 and 1992, he studied with Gerhard Merz at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in Germany. During this stay, steeped in German culture, he translated Novalis' Fragments into Portuguese. He soon began an international career, representing Portugal at the Venice Biennale (in 1995 with José Pedro Croft and Pedro Cabrita Reis) and then at the São Paulo Biennale (in 2004, in a project with the dancer and choreographer Vera Mantero). Several of his sculptures are now in public collections in Portugal and abroad. In 2004 he received the Robert-Jacobsen Sculpture Prize from the Würth Foundation in Germany and in 2015 the Pessoa Prize in Portugal, and in 2021 the AICA Prize.  

In 2022, he had an exhibition with Pedro Costa and Paulo Nozolino at the Centre Pompidou and a major solo exhibition in 2022-2023 at the Serralves Foundation in Porto. A new exhibition "Alberto Giacometti - Rui Chafes" will take place from 18 May to 25 September 2023 at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

Rui Chafes O ar doce e duro da eternidade 2023. Iron. 47 x 97 x 33 cm
Rui Chafes O ar doce e duro da eternidade 2023. Fer. 47 x 97 x 33 cm
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