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(Português) Claire de Santa Coloma, Chuva

Sculpture materializes the artist’s thinking through a handmade effort. It is a deeply physical form of art and the one who exercises it has to have much more than just an idea’s conception and projection. Chuva, currently on exhibition at Appleton Associação Cultural, is an installation made of pieces of holm oak wood of different shapes and sizes, hanging from the ceiling at different heights, disparately distant from each other. The Argentinian artist Claire de Santa Coloma needed a considerable amount of time to choose, sculpt and polish the different wood pieces for this exhibition. But, when we stand before these objects, we no longer identify holm oak trunks, instead we actually recognize different similarities with faces or shoes. We could be in the presence of a giant mobile, whose polished and soft pieces appeal to the touch. As if Claire, after spending a long-time sculpting and polishing these pieces, wanted to share with the quality, the energy that these pieces have and for which the artist contributed with dedication.

Claire assembled this work during an artistic residence in Coimbra’s Botanical Garden. The wooden trunks were about to be used as firewood, when Claire saved them from their lugubrious fate. The Appleton’s ceiling was then mapped to identify the existing holes (which had served other exhibitions) and the pieces were suspended through those same holes, using steel wires. These pieces therefore contain Appleton’s exhibitive past, as well as the future, as the ceiling will remain subtly fractured and Chuva will then join this memory.

Something intangible hovers around this installation, which is also corporeal. The tree, ferociously clinging itself to the earth, is found here decomposed, suspended, and the whole structure slightly moves back and forth, even if it does not look like it. The space is almost totally occupied, but we can walk between the hanging pieces, which gives them a lightness and a kinetic quality that separates it from traditional sculpture. There is the shape of the pieces and the way our body interacts with them. The way they force us to walk carefully, the way they swing when we touch them, even if lightly. There is a relationship established between the visitor’s body and the work’s body, just like the artist established a previous physical relationship with the wooden trunks that acquired these silhouettes. There is an almost erotic relationship between the sculpture and the visitor, evident in the willingness to touch and handle it.

As the whole structure swings in motion, it also claims a static quality, since it seems that all the pieces are suspended in time. As if a shower of polished logs was suspended from falling down, frozen, like the movie trilogy The MatrixChuva is an installation that is in constant movement and also suspended from the natural movement of falling down. In a nutshell, it is a sublimation of time and space, in which we feel suspended ourselves, but always about to fall.

With a career in film production spanning more than 10 years, Bárbara Valentina has worked as production executive, producing and developing several documentary and fiction films for several production companies including David & Golias, Terratreme and Leopardo Films. She is now working as Head of Development and Production Manager at David & Golias as well as a postproduction coordinator at Walla Collective. She is also teacher at ETIC in the Film and Television Course of HND - Higher National Diploma. She started writing articles for different magazines in 2002. She wrote for Media XXI magazine and in 2003 she began her collaboration with Umbigo magazine. Besides Umbigo she wrote for Time Out Lisboa and is still writing as art critic for ArteCapital. In 2010 she completed a postgraduation in Art History.

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