A syringe is the device that rapes the body with what is strange to it. A threatening psychopath is the declaration of imminent physical violence. A tweezer that instrumentalises the distance between bodies is the sanitisation of the sensorial connection. A spying eye that penetrates the nasal cavity is the instrument of thought control. The preliminary encounter with Teresa Milheiro’s work is intensely linked to this formal literality, guided by a refined ergonomic concern, a declared summoning of the body, which functions as one of her fundamental intentions. The design of each piece targets the skin and the flesh, and seeks to induce the sensation of the suggested experience, the consummation of an aggression by the blunt and sharp instrument, and therefore the shock and the shiver. It is an unyielding awe, a disquieting disturbance. And yet, like the captor before the victim he takes hostage, Teresa Milheiro skilfully manipulates the primary emotions of anxiety and fear, making her work irresistibly seductive.

Everything that goes beyond this formal literality escapes. 

On the one hand, it reveals itself as effectively contemporary, by extrapolating the strict domain of jewellery, adopting everyday objects found by chance, intentionally integrated as raw material, creating a hybrid artistic field that combines a sculptural aspect and photography, in this case as documentation of a performing action. Above all, her objects become artistic works of exquisite finish. 

On the other hand, it proceeds to a thematic reflection, settling the specificity of personal daily life, and transfigures itself into a speculative field of social participation. In this exhibition, the artistic projects “Obsessive Controlling Tools”, “Tools for Intimacy and Social Distance Security” and “One Way System II” are presented, created under the umbrella of a more global concept, “Fear Addicts”, which extends to other works presented in the Reverso Gallery and the Alice Floriano Gallery, in the Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes.

“Fear Addicts” is driven by the penetration of an unique and undisputed vision, by notions and feelings such as fear, threat, surveillance, dependency, physical and mental hygiene, and by the problematics raised by metaphorically applying the notions of apathy, alienation and dissociation, seeking to interrogate the establishment of a state of power and restrain, which renders the mind and consciousness vulnerable, weakening and standardising individual freedom. 

It is, after all, the ignition of this question that hovers over, or manoeuvres under, “Fear Addicts”.

Ricardo Escarduça

1st Lisbon Contemporary Jewellery Biennial Off

Window project “SPY ON” at Gallery Reverso September 2021



Teresa Milheiro’s Puppets

Teresa Milheiro, an internationally recognized and acclaimed artist belonging to a Third Generation of Contemporary Portuguese Jewelry, develops in her work a clearly conceptual approach which not only gives the jewel an unprecedented communicative significance but also expands it into unusual territories.

For Teresa Milheiro, a jewel is, as it always should be in a contemporary approach, a predominantly communicative vehicle, a privileged portrait of our time and of the world we live in, which the artist uses to develop her fascinating analytical comments on the daily reality that surrounds her/us. 

In Teresa Milheiro’s jewels, we often find profound, at times finely ironic, reflections on Fashion or on Beauty, phenomena which today’s Media fuel exceedingly and which the jewel apparently supports, or, in a more profound dimension, wise reflections on the human condition itself, life or death. 

Unleashing the jewel into new territories, Teresa Milheiro has already used sculpture in her work, creating sculpture-jewels that recall fantasy insects, and now she does it again with superior mastery.

Resorting to the totally universal masterpiece that makes up the trilogy of Autos das Barcas, which the immortal Gil Vicente bequeathed to us, Teresa Milheiro has transformed her jewels into fascinating puppets: Hell, Purgatory and Glory (or Heaven) are summoned here in a poignant portrayal of the Contemporary World and of our human and mortal condition.

The preciseness of Jewelry combines with a meticulous narrative that, starting with our first great dramatist, dissects the reality of our time. 

Do you remember the Alcoviteira (Procuress) of Auto da Barca do Inferno who brought with her Seiscentos virgos postiços / Duas arcas de feitiços (Six hundred fake hymens / Two trunks full of spells)? 

She seems innocent compared to today’s Procuress who, reviewed by Teresa Milheiro, summons human trafficking networks or the corresponding octopus mafia with hypnotic eyes, crafted in symbolic gold.

The crushing power of multinationals, greed, insane materialism, the emptiness of values, the duality of Good versus Evil inherent in human beings, Innocence, the global economic system, alienation, clerical hypocrisy (perhaps more alive today than it was in Gil Vicente’s time), racial and civilasational hate, are other possible interpretations of these puppets of adults who are perpetually evolving on the World Stage.

Rui Afonso Santos

WAY THROUGH ONE ANOTHER SIDETeresa Milheiro at Museu do Dinheiro, Curated by Sara Barriga  2016

Temporary exhibition that took place between June 30 to October 15 2016.

Within the scope of Plano Tangente: a program of temporary exhibitions of the Money Museum that aimed at disseminating the emerging artistic productionz in various media. The program presented the work of Portuguese contemporary artists in dialogue with the museum architecture and the collections.

During the course of the exhibition there was a guided visit by Teresa Milheiro.

WAY THROUGH ONE ANOTHER SIDETeresa Milheiro at Museu da Marioneta curated by Maria José Machado 2014

“WAY THROUGH ONE ANOTHER SIDE” Teresa Milheiro at ARTICULA Gallery 2009