PARTIR POR TODOS OS DIAS BY JOSÉ MAÇÃS DE CARVALHO

 

PARTIR POR TODOS OS DIAS BY JOSÉ MAÇÃS DE CARVALHO

BY PEDRO LEÃO NETO

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Marcel Proust

"Partir por todos os dias" by José Maçãs de Carvalho (JMC) is an artistic project in book that allows us to dive in a fascinating journey of multiple meanings and places. Within the photography universe and through a non-linear narrative, the author invites us to free ourselves from the instant of time and to explore with a new consciousness, and in a poetic way, the multifaceted richness of the contemporary world and of its multiple contradictions, places and cultures.

We can speak about journeys because the project reveals an escape of what is contingent in life, an “inner state” and a reason to see and understand the world through a second look. As the author explains: “(...) I went from one point to another in daily intervals: I am referring to the late 90’s. Others (for year 2000), where made when crossing Europe to Asia, as who returns to another house, without feeling strangeness.

A work that invites the reader to read and decipher the images and, with them, to make sense of what he is observing, to build a personal vision of the real and go beyond the simple recognition of circumstances. Therefore, it is a significant antidote in relation to contemporary image-saturated, mediated times, nourished through the various media and networks, which interact with the collective imaginary and where fashion, advertising, and products regulate the weight of artifacts and human behavior.

 

LIQUID LAND BY RENDA EFFENDI

 

 LIQUID LAND BY RENDA EFFENDI

by Pedro Leão Neto

"Liquid Land" is the surprising second monograph from Rena Effendi, a widely published photographer from Azerbaijan who had already in print Pipe Dreams, both by Schilt Publishing. 'Liquid Land' is a superior documentary photography project, both aesthetically and as a social document.

What makes this poetic photography series really unique is its intriguing intertwined contrasting worlds. On the one hand, the apparent perfect universe made up of beautiful symmetries seen in diverse butterfly species and, on the other hand, the life of the people who dwell and work precariously among the oil spills and industrial ruins in some of the world’s most polluted areas, near the legendary Azerbaijan city of Baku.

Co-authored with her father Rustam Effendi, a dissident scientist and entomologist who devoted his life to studying, hunting and collecting butterflies in the Soviet Union, Rena shows her father's father's photographs of endangered butterflies, placed in plants and full of vibrant colours, side by side with her own photographs of a very different world. We are, in this way, also confronted with an entropic environment and urban decay of a land near the Caspian Sea and the city of Baku, oil capital of the world in the end of the XIX century - beginning of the XX - and where an industrial oil belt, better known as Black City, was established.

It is fascinating the challenge that this photography series poses to viewers since we are drawn to be simultaneously aware of very strong contrasting realities: the harsh conditions where those communities live, the identity, humanity and hope that those people are still able to maintain, in spite of those severe conditions and then the perfect world of symmetrical abstract and colourful patterns from the butterfly species.

As we run through 'Liquid Land' pages there are interesting visual and emotional links that we feel are possible to establish and that connect those very different worlds. These can be the interplay between the bold colours and patterns of the butterflies and the somewhat abstract shapes and tinted lights of those built-up ruin exteriors and wall textures. Then, the sometimes loneliness of some human figures and the empowerment given to them through Rena Effendi’s frames also communicates with the singularity and magical world of the Lepidoptera order and finally we are challenged to (re)discover the lost meaning or design in those derelict places, also the result of God’s Nature.

Rena Effendi’s 'Liquid Land' is with no doubt an impressive and very poetic monograph that we should not fail to visit and that holds Umberto Eco’s concept of “openness” by allowing diverse publics to fill what is lacking between those opposing worlds and image “fragments” with their experiences and personal sensibilities.
 

View project at instituteartist.com

 

COUVE E CORAGEM BY LIOBA KEUCK

 

COUVE E CORAGEM BY LIOBA KEUCK

by Guido Borgers

Lioba Keuck, born 1983,  is a German photographer who studied Fine Arts and Photography in Münster and Dortmund, Germany.  In 2010 she came to Lisbon to enroll at FBAUL (Faculdade de Belas Artes Universidade Lisboa).

During her stay in Portugal she was touched by Urban Gardens in the city´s periphery. The challenging lifestyle of the gardeners and their daily self-sufficient struggle caught her attention, she found her protagonists and went along with them for two years.

COUVE E CORAGEM has won several awards and was exhibited internationally.

Urban areas and their residents are facing big challenges in these days. Today for the first time in history the majority of the world‘s inhabitants now live in urban environments. But what happens if the structures providing sufficient food, housing, health and labour for all those people fail?

Lisbon´s urban farmers respond directly to their situation. They tell a simple, yet powerful  story from the margins.

The land between their social housing quarters is unused public space. Effectively a wasteland it is considered private due to the spontaneous annexation and agricultural reappropriation by the people.

This wasteland becomes the only refuge in which they trust and where they can directly profit from their abilities. On those underused territories the effects of urban pauperization are counteracted by supplying a additional socioeconomic surplus and creating self-made jobs for the families occupying them. And eventually the latter achieve greater physical and mental well being.

COUVE E CORAGEM depicts crucial aspects of the human being of our time: globalisation, migration from the countryside and the backlash of historic dependencies as well as it contemplates the deeper need for self-fulfllment in everyday existence.

The photographer´s approach is basically journalistic, but she crosses it with different artistic strategies. Her main narrative thread is told documentary and focusses on her protagonists whom she follows through the process of gardening from planting to harvesting and from cultivation to bulldozing of the land.

Direct portraits break this format and show the peasant´s identity, dignity and pride. Further there are pictures of fences taken by night: boundaries constructed from waste material extracted by the flash from the usual manner of reading. Here the conditions of these gardens can be seen clearly: they are marginal, fragile and precarious. And tomorrow they could easily be destroyed. But yet strong enough to give those farmers their "own“ space.

Lioba Keuck´s publication emphasises the actual significance of her story by coming along as a precious journal. Inward original quotes give the farmers a voice to describe the reality that lies within their "hortas“.

Not only in times of crisis we better listen carefully.

 

REVIEW: BEING AND BECOMING BY VIRGÍLIO FERREIRA

 

REVIEW: BEING AND BECOMING BY VIRGÍLIO FERREIRA

by Pedro Leão Neto

Both formal and conceptual, Virgílio Ferreira’s photography work creates a modern poetry of its own, which inquires our present time in a critical and imaginative way, and, in this case in particular, the Portuguese diaspora around the world.
In the series Being and Becoming, here published in the “scopio Projects” collection1, the enigmatic quality of the images, the double exposures and the final diptychs compositions unbound the author from the rigid conventions of realism and of traditional photographic composition. This specific exploration of the photographic medium is very interesting: the multi-exposures and the assemblage of different forms create a very personal and fictional visual narrative about territories, time and the meaning of human life in this world.
Virgílio Ferreira’s series is an open work2, a poetic imagery structured in diptychs, which place, side by side, unconventional images, making Portuguese diaspora’s time, memory and existence collapse. Thus, it challenges in new ways the limits of indexation of the photographic image and the memory process instigated by the photograph.
Virgílio Ferreira’s technical treatment and elegance make his visual narratives aesthetically unique, possessing an identity and poetry of their own. It is worth mentioning how Virgílio’s work, particularly since Daily Pilgrims, has been strongly positioning itself in the international arena of ‘contemporary art’. The author continuously reinvents his expression by creatively exploring the medium of photography to better convey his feelings and critical stance towards our multifaceted and complex world and, in this case, the psychological and existential world of people coming from the Portuguese diaspora.
Virgílio is also a photographer artist to whom the formal and technical aspects of photography play an important role and significantly define the conceptual universe of his projects. This means he is closer to the technical treatment and aesthetics of someone like, for example, Harry Callahan3, who experimented with collages and multiple exposures, or to the work of more recent authors, who, despite their
differences, have in common the fact that they apply to photography their artistic and plastic strategies in order to question reality and culture. This is the case of contemporary artists as Idris Khan, who, with his multiple exposures, strips temporal signifiers and blurs time and space in Bernd and Hilla Becher’s images of industrial gas works4; Uta Bath’s blurred streetscapes5; or Helen Sear’s innovative use of image superimposition. All these authors share with Virgílio the use of novel and experimental strategies to question the process of vision itself and to challenge our cultural certainties, our historical time, our awareness. Virgílio Ferreira’s work also embodies, in its own way, the idea that documentary photography integrating an artistic or fictional approach plays an important role in projects that try to critically understand the values and life of our time.
Within this individual and contemporary photographic framework, Virgílio Ferreira is not only capable of going beyond traditional representation, when understood as an indexicality and visual accuracy towards its subject, but he is also able to offer us a hint of the spiritual and existential portrait of its subject matter. Photography, as we know, is not a medium capable of depicting reality accurately. Virgílio Ferreira’s series embodies this very contemporary idea because it defies certainty with a set of images that create both a social documentary and an artistic visual narrative, addressing the Portuguese migratory universe in a metaphoric and indeterminate way. Thus, it is an open social art work where each of us can create our story revealing more than what is just real, making us feel and understand in a very personal and poetical way how Portuguese diaspora and life are part of a global world.