The Stories of a Label: Pedro A.H. Paixão

The Stories of a Label: Pedro A.H. Paixão

Ever since 1985, we have invited a Portuguese artist to design the labels for Esporão Reserva and Private Selection. This year, we re-encountered an old friend and artist we very much admire, Pedro A.H. Paixão, and invited him to create the labels for our most recent vintages.

Pedro was born in Lobito, Angola, in 1971, and has travelled the world, having lived in Lisbon, Chicago, Venice, Porto, and Milan. Boasting a PhD in philosophy and a Master’s in fine arts, he is also a recognised visual artist and editor, working in the areas of drawing, video, slides and theory. His artwork is represented by Galeria 111, in Lisbon, where he exhibits different pieces. He is a research member of the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Porto and coordinates the “Disciplina sem nome” (Discipline without name) collection of essays for the Lisbon publisher, Documenta.

Since 2007, he has created a broad cycle of graphic work in red, crimson or scarlet, which has been displayed occasionally and can be seen, in part, at an exhibition on show at Lisbon’s Museu do Dinheiro (Money Museum) until 4th June.

To get a better idea of his creative process and why he accepted the challenge to design the labels for our wines, we travelled to Milan, where Pedro lives with his family.

We were welcomed to his “cave” – as he calls it – which is also his studio, at his home. The place where he spends his days and creates is small for those just passing through but a growing world for those who remain. The books that line the four chaotic walls are small islands of memories and the portraits dotted around the shelves partners for conversation. “Everything here has been slowly added, step by step”. We discover his beliefs, rules and habits. Wearing slippers, he moves around the small spot influenced by the rays of light coming through the window, telling time. During the morning, Pedro takes advantage of the light next to the window or the rays that, with the hours that pass, stretch over the enormous drawing board, where we see his unfinished drawings. At night, things are done in the half light, sitting in the studio armchair.

As time elapses and we keep him company, we forget where we are. Pedro lives in Milan but could reside anywhere in the world. One of the reasons he lives in this city is Caravaggio’s painting “Cena in Emmaus”, on show at the Pinacoteca di Brera, which he visits occasionally.

We meet Pedro in a chaos that is his own, where everything works in harmony. Truth be told, we almost feel excess to requirements there. Each object is an extension of himself, of his memories and of his senses.

The scarlet pencil follows his hand, it draws creatures and characters who, as they take shape, also find a voice, as if they had something to tell us. The density of his immersion in the search for sensitive thought mirrors everything he does. His work is nourished by that density, by complexity, stories and, most of all, by time. Just like wine. Full of all this.