Flavio Pons, Artist in distribution

Claudio Goulart (1954-2005) and Flavio Pons (1947) arrived in Amsterdam independently and more or less by chance from their native Brazil in the mid-1970s. Though it was intended to be a short stay, the city’s then free, progressive and avant-garde climate ensured that both artists settled here. Goulart and Pons were partners and later lifelong friends. Together they developed numerous artistic projects. Initially they devoted themselves to graphics, photography and collage art. From 1978 they also focused on (live) performances, which were characterized by a socially critical, political undertone and a poetic visual language.

Flavio Pons (1947): “I was born in the south of Brazil. All kinds of blood flows through my veins: Spanish, Arabic, French and Portuguese. After graduating from the Art Academy in Rio de Janeiro, I unexpectedly won the annual prize for young artists. A kind of 'Salon de Jeune' issued by the Museum of Modern Art of Rio. That meant that I was allowed to make a Grand Tour d'Europe for a year. Tickets, money, it was all inclusive. I went to Paris and finally to London, where some friends from Brazil were staying at the time. They went to Amsterdam and invited me to come for a few days.”

“I booked a cheap hotel, I was supposed to stay for three days. I was under the impression that the Netherlands would not be that interesting for me as an artist. In my experience there were tulips, wooden shoes and Van Gogh. But Amsterdam, certainly at that time, turned out to be an avant-garde city, much more so than Paris and London. So I wanted to stay a little longer. Those few days turned into a week and then, after mediation by the hotel porter, I was allowed to temporarily use an empty room in a student flat. After that I was able to rent an apartment via via. In the end, I have been living and working in this city for more than 40 years. And I have two passports.”