Muitas vezes marquei encontro comigo próprio no ponto zero
The Curatorial Award Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar/EGEAC has reached its third edition and honours a curatorial project of contemporary art. The winner, Marta Rema, presented a proposal for a collective exposition on the willingness to think about silence in its body, artistic, visual, temporal, political, real and imaginary aspects.
Muitas vezes marquei encontro comigo próprio no ponto zero questions the place of silence and the contemporary world, while also wondering about what types of silence we can cross paths with and its meaning for different people. In a nutshell, this is the challenge brought by the curator in her candidature for the Curatorial Award, one that intends to extend its ramifications to the visitor: what we convey with silence and how we do it.
In the age of social media, where people blatantly listen to music or watch a movie on their devices without headphones on any public transport, where noise pollution is hitting alarming levels, thinking about silence is both an urgency and a method to reflect on solitude and isolation.
Some works convey the sensation of silence, such as Azimute (2019) by Pedro Vaz, where the contemplation of an immense white landscape takes us back to the frozen steppe stretches, where life is minimal and where the connection to a concept of solitude is unavoidable. João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva in Sistema Planetário (2010) shows us an image that simulates a planetary orbit, that vastness we imagine as silent, although the planets are not planets, in the customary conceptual language of both artists. Following the same thread, the works of Fernando Calhau Perfect Blank and Dead End (both from 1994) refer to an idea of emptiness, a solitary walk, relying on the written word. The word Ouve-me (1979) is used by Helena Almeida as a photographic cry to make herself heard, even without speaking or seeing, in an allusion to the feminine condition. Ana Pérez-Quiroga presents in Stereotype Poof! a set of 37 portraits of lesbians (one is a self-portrait) on the female condition and the stereotype of sexual orientation, providing, with such a diverse array of faces, that there is no physiognomy determinism in one’s sexual preference. Cecília Costa with O Tempo Não Tem Som (2018) relates the silence to the passage of time, but swaps a tic-tac imaginary for a set of hourglasses that are effectively soundless, capable of freezing time within. The least silent work during the visit is Shiu! (2018) by Luísa Cunha, a sound that echoes throughout space and reminds us to be quiet while also piercing silence itself. Júlio Pomar presents a series of drawings created when he was incarcerated in the prison of Forte de Caxias in 1947, a place where silence is both imperative and an inevitability. The group of artists is quite diverse and, besides those aforementioned, it includes works by: Ana Pissarra, João Pedro Vale & Nuno Alexandre Ferreira, Jorge Molder, Josefa d’Óbidos, Paulo Lisboa, Raul Domingues, Ricardo Jacinto, Rui Chafes, Sandro Resende and Sara & André.
In Muitas vezes marquei encontro comigo próprio no ponto zero this type of works is as eclectic as the artists represented. The ensemble does not necessarily have artistic or formal affinities, but are united by a common subject, which may have not been the origin of their intention, but rather the curator’s will. In a noise-drenched era, silence can be a powerful way of communicating what we do not want to say or do, it can be an effective and powerful fighting weapon, it can be used to deal with unfinished business, to silence a discussion. It may have lost its weight in existence, but not its importance. A curatorial proposal on the subject of silence is, in these times, a political and social cry and perhaps one of the most useful communication tools.