In 2006 the artist and her colleague João Sousa Cardoso were invited to participate in the exhibition Busca Pólos that the Museum of Contemporary Art Serralves in Porto commissioned Salão Olímpico to curate. Salão Olímpico, an initiative of a group of artists, operated between 2003 and 2005 and presented periodic exhibitions of visual arts, video exhibitions and performances. Many of the leading figures in the Portuguese art world exhibited their works in this venue. Specifically for this occasion, Paes Leão and Cardoso realised Plural I&II: two films of twenty minutes each, portraying the political developments in Portugal in the twentieth century in a very direct and raw manner. The work was not only exhibited at Serralves, but also at the Vila Flor Cultural Centre in Guimarães and at the Portuguese Pavilion in Coimbra.
By 2006 both Paes Leão and Cardoso had left Portugal and were now living in respectively the Netherlands and France. This process of migration had led both artists to investigate what their Portuguese identity meant, but also to critically look at Portuguese culture and history. Plural I&II is a result of that process. The films portray Portugal as a country in crisis, with a vicious political system, where a high percentage of the population appears to lack a sense of political conscience. The films also urge the Portuguese to be aware of their collective past in order to be able to understand the facts of the present and to discover better alternatives for the future. Both films use excerpts from História de Portugal written by José Mattoso between 1993 and 1995. This comprehensive work debunks the glorious myths and legends that were taught in history-class and offers a completely new perspective on the Portuguese past based on proven facts alone. In Plural I&II these scientific texts were interspersed with old video footage the artists had made previously as part of the group Terrorist Cunt, described later.
Video stills ‘Plural II’ ST - Hi8 - 4:3 / 20’00” PT