João Vasco Paiva

Placid For A While

PV Thursday 28th Oct. 2021 at Zona Mista
Ilderton Wharf
Rollins Street
SE15 1EP

Placid For A While shows a new body of work by João Vasco Paiva made over the past two years. The title refers to the temporary stillness that is experienced between conflicts, be that socio-political conflicts, or the conflicts of daily life when interacting with other people and navigating public space.

João’s watercolors are renderings of technical drawings taken from Hong Kong’s public furniture that play with ideas of our ephemerality of thought. In any instance an object can change or lose its function in the mind of the person viewing it. A piece of street furniture used to control the flow of crowds in Hong Kong, momentarily becomes a missile or barricade to a protester.

“Heidegger believed that our understanding of being in the world can be found when objects that we use every day fail to function.” When something does not work in the way it’s expected “at that moment we get a glimpse of our being… and you become aware of your body in the world.” (West, F. 2007)

The sculptures are casts of the plant Carpobrotus Edulis, a species of vine that is today considered an “invasive species” that was first brought to Europe in the 18th century to help alleviate erosion along the coast, suggesting ideas related with immigration, land and territory manufacturing.


João Vasco Paiva, Coimbra, Portugal,1979, transforms his perceptions of spaces he inhabits, and objects found within them, into works that include videos, sculptures, and installations. These transformations result from processes of mapping, translating, moulding and casting. Paiva’s work examines ephemerality, and durability, of the structures and languages behind the construction of often neglected items, drawing out their continuously shifting characteristics.