Collegium Helveticum
Still from Parabolas. Paulo Wirz

O Encontro das Partes Partidas
The Encounter of Broken Parts


Opening hours: Mon–Fri, 12:30–16:30
Special opening:
July 12, 12:30–19:00
July 13 & 14 (Sat & Sun), 12:30–16:30

Opening event: June 18, 2024, 18:00–21:30

This is a public exhibition. Participation is free of charge.

Paulo Wirz’s research at the Collegium Helveticum delved into the intricate themes of virtuality, preservation, and material attachment—encompassing sentimental, physical, and symbolic dimensions—with death as a central focus. His culminating exhibition speculates on the “de-materialization” of concepts such as “the matter,” the “visible” and the “invisible,” the “real” and the “non-real.” Through this exploration, Wirz opens up new heterotopic questions and reflections, challenging and expanding the boundaries of his research topics.

Opening event
June 18, 2024, 18:00–21:30

The exhibition O Encontro das Partes Partidas features a site-specific sculptural floor installation alongside the screening of the first cut of his first digital moving image project. This dual showcase invites viewers into a contemplative space where Wirz’s sculptural practice and cinematic exploration intersect. The floor installation, composed of meticulously arranged sculptural elements, echoes his ongoing inquiry into materiality and symbolism. Meanwhile, the digital moving image project immerses the audience in a visual narrative that intertwines the tangible and intangible, blurring the lines between reality and virtuality.

Paulo Wirz drew profound inspiration for his latest research from a landmark speech by the Foreign Minister of Tuvalu, Simon Kofe, delivered at the COP27 climate summit in 2022. In his address, Kofe poignantly stated that Tuvalu might soon become the first nation to exist entirely in the digital realm, highlighting the pressing reality of climate change and its existential threat to physical territories.

This compelling vision of a nation transitioning into a digital existence became the catalyst for Wirz’s exploration of themes such as virtuality, preservation, and material attachment—whether sentimental, physical, or symbolic.

List of Works

O Encontro das Partes Partidas
The Encounter of Broken Parts

Gallery, floor level A

O Encontro das Partes Partidas is a site-specific installation that transforms the gallery space into a reflective labyrinth of introspection and connection. This evocative work consists of a series of containers crafted from mirrors, meticulously displayed in parallel rows that form distinct corridors. Each container, while similar in its materials and forms, varies in size—one being precisely half the dimensions of the other. This deliberate binary contrast evoked the fundamental principles of digital computation, echoing the binary system of zeros and ones.

Contained within these mirrored boxes are objects ranging from dust to precious gems, playful elements such as beads, alongside everyday items like cutlery and burnt matches. This eclectic mix summons a kaleidoscope of ephemeral memories, which shift and transform with the viewer's movement. As one navigates through the installation, the reflections and the objects within engage in a dance of perpetual change, inviting contemplation on the transient nature of memory and the fluidity of perception.

The arrangement of these mirrored containers on the floor draws the viewer’s gaze into a perspective reminiscent of an electronic cartridge or a barcode when observed from above. This alignment alludes to the archival nature of ordinary elements, capturing the essence of everyday life while simultaneously suggesting a glimpse into a futuristic cemetery. Here, the reflections create an interplay between presence and absence, past and future, reality and illusion. O Encontro das Partes Partidas invites visitors to navigate through this mirrored maze, encouraging a contemplation of identity, memory, and the interconnectedness of fragmented parts within the continuum of existence.


Laboratory, entrance via backyard

During his 10-month research fellowship at the Collegium Helveticum, Paulo Wirz embarked on an artistic journey to explore and create his first moving image project. Wirz selected the labyrinth—an archetypal architectural and mythological symbol—as the central scenario for his work. Drawing inspiration from his established sculptural vocabulary, which encompasses ready-made standard lamps, blown glass elements, bronze casts, and self-made wax figures, Wirz constructs a compelling narrative within a labyrinth of mirrors.

In this innovative moving image project, Wirz not only navigates the physical and conceptual intricacies of the labyrinth but also delves into the deeper symbolic layers of his materials and motifs. The interplay of light, reflection, and sculptural forms within the labyrinthine spacewhere one doesn’t know where things start or end.

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