Fernando Costa Johan-Frederik Hel Guedj

Publication date:
17 Jul 2018
Five Continents Editions
184 pages: 351 x 282 x 23mm

This is the first book dedicated to Fernando Costa, an eclectic, self-taught artist, born in France to a family that arrived in the country on foot from Portugal while fleeing the dictatorship of Salazar in 1970. Costa dissects enamelled street signs, cuts them up, smoothes them off and reassembles the pieces by welding them onto large metal plaques to create works of extraordinary originality. The result is striking, as shown in this colourful monograph. Some are figurative, the cousins of Pop art, infused with a personal element, as they include tragic or comical moments and figures that have influenced the sculptor during his lifetime: the cyclist Tom Simpson, the Beatles, and Josephine Baker. Other works flirt with abstraction derived from Cubism and the mechanical music of Edgar Varese. All display freedom, movement, energy, and the interplay of primary colours. Whether small in size or imposing triptychs, the works of Fernando Costa achieve a rare feat: imbuing metal with emotion.

Johan-Frederik Hel Guedj is a French writer who has published short stories, two novels, and an account of polar exploration. He lives in Brussels and writes on contemporary art in the daily newspaper L'Echo/De Tijd.