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Manuel Graça Dias (1953-2019)

To cite this paper: DIAS, Manuel Graça – To choose. Estudo Prévio 20. Lisboa: CEACT/UAL-Center for Studies of Architecture, City and Territory of the Autonomous University of Lisbon, 2022, p. 105-106. ISSN: 2182-4339 [Available at: www.estudoprevio.net]. DOI: https://doi.org/10.26619/2182-4339/20.15 (original ed. O Independente, No. 35, January 13, 1989). Published from DIAS, Manuel Graça – Vida Moderna. Mirandela: João Azevedo Editor, 1991, p. 114-117.

Creative Commons, license CC BY-4.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

To Choose

TO PROJECT is to choose; art is a choice.

Among what there is, what exists, what has been done, said, experienced; among what is exhibited, shown, seen, among the forms, the families of forms, the derivatives of forms, the architect chooses, selects, elects.

I choose the right door for this house of mine; the one that gives me this light, but also that comes to mind and I have seen (kept) somewhere before; like this door (which I have elaborated in remembrance, but slightly different, perhaps more adapted); I exercise the choice, I set the use.

I have seen in popular architectures the entire inner span of a window painted in red and the wood of its frames; all around, the white of the wall held those pictures that were repeated. I will wear them one day.

Imagination exists; but to imagine is to recombine the real, to reintroduce it, to select it, to intercept it from the surprise of new arrangements. This is what is done with materials: I choose marble, I do not invent it; by inventing the drawings I am choosing the drawing I will give it.

I choose the screed, the color of it, the square it will turn into. I choose the mosaics, the tiles, the ceramic squares; I choose the combinations among them, the pattern of their gluing, their alternation, their absence.

I choose the rhyme of colors, the colors to use, the contrasts they make (no colors are invented).

I choose where the softness of the stucco hides, where the change for wood, the design of that wood, the clipping, the sloths that the frieze will open for them.

To choose is to judge better: the design of the house, the monument, the square, the pergola.

When I write, I choose the cadence, the word, the adjective; I resort to structures already used, thought, said and that rest within my memory; I rewrite them, a little shuffled. Slowly, the common place is taken off to try to leave only the place, the space of the word or the phrase waiting to have touched that impossible meaning, to have scraped it.

The photographer is well the example of the chooser-artist: from reality, he selects (frames) cuts and cuts, overlaps, and blurs, approaches, and burns or hardens the day, the palace, the voice, the smoke of a cigarette against the linen towel.

In search for the word for the universe was Borges, choosing among all the codes in the Library the one that would be brought to him.

Women choose the highlights for their hair; workers between two identical shirts, choose by color, by the meaning of stripes, so the accumulated culture makes them think more about their shirts.

To choose is to invent at every moment the kind of moment, the game of choices; “(…) an artist … manipulates the signs as if it were a conscious deception that he tastes and wants to give to taste and understand the fascination”[1].

No one said it as well as Barthes.

[1]. BARTHES, Roland – Lição. Lisboa: Edições70, 1979.