The Secret-Colored Portraits of Lucas Simões

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Trained in architecture, Brazilian artist Lucas Simões naturally thinks about the physical nature of his mediums and their ability to be destructed and reconstructed. His portfolio is almost indescribable because of how many different physical forms his art takes. The medium is the focal point of his work. He constructed abstract landscapes, based on cork or wood, by carving stacks of paper from which sprouted cement sculptures or cylindrical glass. He sculpted silicone and cement on top of a copy of the The Brothers Karamazov. And my favorite: he froze photographs of sculptures in ice sculptures.

However, these portraits are an example of the Simões-treatment on the medium of photography. He explains the project:

In this series of works I invited intimate friends over to tell me a secret as I took their portrait. However, my intention was not to hear their secret, but to capture the expressions of each one at the moment they revealed their secret. I also asked each one to choose a song for me to listen to in my ear phones while I photographed them. And, after the photo session, I asked each one if the secret had a color, and these are the colors the portraits carry. From this photo shooting session I chose 10 different portraits to cut and overlap.

Through working in this manner, Simões emphasizes the significance of process as part of the medium. A simple example is how one might focus not on film as the photographic medium, but rather, the process of taking the photograph. His subjects’ secrets, their expressions, their chosen song and color, the cutting of the photographs, the layering, the lighting in the photograph of the final work that you actually see on your screen—these all shaped the medium in abstract or tangible ways. These images are so visually stimulating that I could appreciate them only for that. But, Simões challenges me to think about how artwork is more than just what is seen, but also the story of the process behind the image.

>> See more of Lucas Simões work at


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