José Damasceno was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1968, where he continues to live and work. Damasceno represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and has also been invited to create installations for various public spaces, including Madrid's Museo Reina Sofía, presented as the exhibition Coordenadas y Apariciones in 2008.
The 2014 Company of Angels' edition by José Damasceno is based on a photograph from the Local Studies Archive in Holborn Library in central London, where Plot, Damasceno's first major solo UK exhibition, and commission for Artangel, was presented in the autumn of that year.
The photograph shows the Gramaphone Library: an original feature of the building when it opened to the public in 1960. Damasceno has applied dry-transfer Letraset figures to the surface of the photograph. Used in drawings by architects, planners and designers from the 1960s to the 1980s, the Letraset figures offered a kind of shorthand representation of Western citizens of the time. The print relates to a large-scale installation realised by Damasceno in the lending library on the ground floor, and the mezzanine of Holborn Library, which remains in situ. Around forty cut-out forms enlarged from Letraset figures were installed upside down on the ceiling, inverting the space and juxtaposing an idealised projection of society with the everyday realities and uses of the building today.
José Damasceno is represented by Thomas Dane Gallery, UK, and Galeria Fortes Vilaça, Brazil.