With the multifaceted work Notes sur cette terre qui respire le feu [Notes on this earth breathing fire] (2017), presented in the Darling Foundry’s Main Hall, Marco Godinho immerses spectators in the spectacular and majestic universe of the Etna volcano in Sicily. Inspired by his reading of Georges Bataille’s description of the physical and emotional intensity of his climb of the volcano in 1937, Godinho decided, in February 2017, to repeat this ascent in order to (re)discover the essence of Bataille’s biographical account.

The title of the exhibition, Un feu permanent à l’intérieur de nous [A Permanent Fire Inside Us], deliberately plays on a reference that is broader than that of the single work presented in the exhibition at the Darling Foundry. By choosing a different title, Godinho inscribes this show in a more universal context, beyond the scope of the works and space of the exhibition. The fire - both light and heat, death and destruction - mentioned in the title certainly refers to the volcano and its core of fire. However, one may also read an evocation of the primary impulses that drive human beings in general, and the artist in particular, in their daily exploration of the world.

Godinho’s work is full of solitary conceptual steps and explorations of diverse territories: border zones, geopolitical edges, symbolic sites. This ambitious and bold initiative is thus a logical continuation of his interest in experiences that transpose philosophical or geopolitical ideas into physical experiences in order to extract their essence and authenticity. More than a remake of Bataille’s experience, Godinho’s act of climbing Etna also takes on the sense of an initiatory journey accompanied by a quest for brute reality and unquestionable danger.

Godinho tirelessly surveys the borders of the world that he visits. He therefore claims a kind of nomadism, questioning his belonging to defined space and demanding his right not to settle down. Just as borders for him are abstract lines that mark out a fictional space to be deconstructed and rethought, the language commonly used to define (non)belonging may be challenged by a conceptual juxtaposition or alteration, or even by a contextual shift. His work is deployed in a permanent quest for new definitions and questioning of society’s supposedly acquired conceptions. 

Excerpts from a text by Kevin Muhlen


Marco Godinho

Born in 1978 in Salvaterra de Magos in Portugal, Marco Godinho shares his life between Paris and Luxembourg. In a conceptual spirit, he is interested in subjective perception of time and space through the exploration of the notions of wandering, exile, experience, memory and time as it is lived. From 2000 to 2005, he studied at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Nancy (France), at the École Cantonale d’Arts de Lausanne (Switzerland) and at the Kunstakademie and Fachhochschule Düsseldorf (Germany). Between 2005 and 2006, he completed a post-graduate at the Atelier National de Recherche Typographique in Nancy. Since 2006, he has had several solo exhibitions in institutions across Europe and Canada, including the Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain (2013), Faux Mouvement – Centre d’art contemporain in France (2013), Neuer Kunstverein Aschaffenburg in Germany (2012), l’Espace pour l’art in Arles, France (2012), Le Mois de la Photo in Montréal, Canada (2011), l’Instituto de Camões in Luxembourg (2008, 2011), Centre d’arts plastiques et visuels in Lille, France (2009), La Chaudronnerie – FRAC Champagne-Ardenne in Reims (2007), and the Hervé Bize Gallery in Nancy, which represents his work (2007, 2009, 2012). In 2019, Marco Godinho represents Luxembourg in the 58th Venice Biennale.