Spaces at Chiado 8

Spaces of creation | Blurs of creation

Capturing the creative process is a strenuous task, sometimes even inglorious. It is as if one wanted to hold something invisible, unutterable, solely perceived by some. It is a continued strength that shows itself on a continuum, measured in the remnants conceived which, sometimes, reach incommensurable values. It’s light, it’s work, and it’s a dynamic equation of infinite components.

Having the privilege of accessing the artist’s laborious act should be something magical, but should also be regarded as a moment of desecration for some. The craft, the artifice – the artist’s primary technique – is the best when kept in secret: it expands the mystery and adds quality. And the space, holder of such secrets, is sacred and should be perceived and esteemed as such. Even more: the studio, the office, is an idiosyncratic housing, in other words, it obeys to particularities of those who dwell in it and the work conceived in there. Having said that, the revelation of these matters can only constitute an ambivalence.

Spaces tries to capture, through photography, the artist in their working space, being aware of how difficult that task is. The artistic gesture unfolds itself in a shapeless blur of a long exposure that the photographer, Rodrigo Bettencourt da Câmara, considers being the best when it comes to depicting the moment of creation. The author affirms: “this moment, these gestures are ageless and do not even have a precise shape; but they have an ambience, energy, light, and appear to be endless. It’s like the artist is spending their whole life doing the same, with different results.”

But photography adds a new dimension: immortalization, which succeeds a vaguely documental record. To portray the act of the artist is to give them a certain perpetuity, and so it deifies the process’s complexity.

The faces and the bodies are not discernible, but the movements are guessed in the imagination of the observer, relying on an exercise that almost appears to have a trait of motor archaeology. Before our eyes have, we have a lengthy performance which swings between indecision, silences, action, quietness and pure contemplation – an opera of compositions, rhythms, times, movements which get together on a flat surface without making it simpler, quite the contrary.

As a matter of fact, contemporaneity has brought a new way to look and work on art, and has been emphasizing the space of performance, which is the studio. This space can seamlessly assume social and community traits, with hybrid practices and a sharing stance. There, the silence is not so important, but the chaotic and creative noise, which is generated through several permutations, can enhance experimentation and informality.

Under this perspective, it doesn’t look like Bettencourt da Câmara has revealed anything at all. There is no reification, objectification about what constitutes the creative process. What he allows us to see is an abstract record which adds enigma and vagueness. As mentioned by one of the authors of the auxiliary texts, Miguel Sayada, the camera registers “several selves in renovation” – and there is nothing more sphynx-like and synthesizer in the whole poetic of the artist in motion.

Spaces is a recollection of several years of visits to workshops of artists with deeply diverse and large portfolios, in different corners of the world. In this exhibition, we have access to the privacy of art through several authors from Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, France, Spain, Austria and Spain, in a show that goes from analogue to digital technology, hence, peculiarly, documenting the evolution of the most modern techniques.

Spaces cannot be missed, an exhibition of Rodrigo Bettencourt da Câmara, commissioned by Pedro Cabral Santo, with texts of Miguel Sayada and Miriam Tavares. To see at Chiado 8 until 15 February 2018.

José Rui Pardal Pina (n. 1988) has a master's degree in architecture from I.S.T. in 2012. In 2016 he joined the Postgraduate Course in Art Curation at FCSH-UNL and began to collaborate in the Umbigo magazine. Curator of Dialogues (2018-), an editorial project that draws a bridge between artists and museums or scientific and cultural institutions with no connection to contemporary art.

Signup for our newsletter!

I accept the Privacy Policy

Subscribe Umbigo

4 issues > €34

(free shipping to Portugal)