"Susana Figueira’s sculptures are much like fairy tale characters, suddenly come to life before one’s very eyes, and which seem to exist on the boundary between reality and fantasy. However, her tale is not of that which lies beyond, but of that which lies within. Her characters portray beings transformed by the aberrations of that which they want to represent. They themselves are the agents of their own grotesqueness. To Luigi Pirandello, the grotesque represented a reality that oscillated between the comical and the tragic, that of the theatre of Life itself.  To that end, Susana invokes Rabelais’ writings so as to imbue her creations with pathos, conveyed through their ridiculous, haughty, or absurd gestures. Rabelais’ portrayal of contemporary society, in which the boundaries between fantasy and reality are blurred, reflects upon the theme of the crude/grotesque aspects of everyday life: war, empire, education, famine, drought, matrimony, science, justice... Ultimately, it serves to unmask, through the very mask, the contradictions that  surround us. What better remedy than laughter itself? As Rabelais himself said: “It is better to write of laughter than of tears, since laughter comes naturally to Man”.


Susana clothes her characters in colours, in an excess of self representation, much in the way that fashion trends do with us, as if we were players in the theatre of reality. Their faces are transformed into zoomorphic symbols or perplexed forms of distorted and cretinous representations of their self-images; or they actually become the part that they are acting out. Thus, we have the character that is both diplomat and soldier, outfitted in a tailcoat with military

decorations, and with an ass’ snout; next to another with a gas mask, that is trying to avoid being

suffocated by its own farts; or that haughty  gentleman with a patriarchal air to him and a pig head,

like a “Big Daddy” pig of sorts; and many others. Together, they dance to their music of aberrations, spinning the ferris wheel that they themselves built, so that the world should continue to turn upon itself in a never-ending vicious circle."


Susana Figueira

South Africa : 1976


Studied Fine Arts in Valencia and Funchal, where she received a licentiate degree in Plastic Arts/Painting in 2000, at the Department of Art and Design - University of Madeira. In 2005, she concluded the Advanced Studies Diploma (DEA) at the San Carlos Faculty of Fine Arts/UPV, Spain. She was awarded a mobility scholarship by MECD, Spain (2003). Since 1997, she has participated in various collective exhibits in Portugal and abroad. Her work 7 Deadly Sins won 1st prize (ex aequo) for Painting, at the Casa das Mudas Exhibit (1999). In 2003, she received an honourable mention at the 3rd Edition of the latter. In 2007, she took part in the collective exhibit Animal Ration, at the MAC Funchal, with her Lords of Arse-Licking, a work of social commentary through satire. As of 2000, she began to explore the aesthetic relation between the comical and the grotesque, resulting in her works The World is Mere Farce, Man is But a Buffoon (2002), and Inside Out (2001), a triptych that, when closed upon itself, displays two burlesque characters “mooning” the observer.

'Freira xixi' acrylic painting, gold leaf on wood, fabric, crochet _ papier maché, , 126x100x100cm, 2015, 1200libras

'Enfiador de terços' acrylic painting, gold leaf on wood, fabric, crochet _ papier maché, 125x100x100cm, 2015

'Fodasno' acrylic painting, gold leaf on wood, fabric, crochet _ papier maché, 150x100x100

'Pau curto' acrylic painting, gold leaf on wood, fabric, crochet _ papier maché, 163x100x100cm, 2015

For more information about this artworks please contact us to: portugalnow2015@gmail.com



Mara Alves PortugArt Founder

Tel: +44 (0) 7425089060

E-mail: portugalnow2015@gmail.com


Supported by The Portuguese Embassy