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Around tomorrow’s shelter in the exhibition «Unbuilt Memories» of Didier Fiúza Faustino

For anyone who is fond and has an interest in the inimitable work of the Luso-French architect/artists, his most recent solo exhibition is on display at Galeria Filomena Soares until March 10.

In this show, we encounter, in each of the rooms, pieces that are part of an installation embedded, in its expression, with a sturdy density, faithful to his style and taste. The four works, whose appearance is akin to unfinished objects, establish a mutual discourse between them, consistent with the exhibition space.

In the first room, the same title, Tomorrow’s Shelter, through two different visual media, introduces a continuous and two-dimensional series of photographs in fingerprints, distributed in a systemized manner along the wall, which accompanies the iron sculpture, matching with it. The same sculpture is placed in the center, imposing itself on the totality of the room, given the consistent nature of its volumetric structure, with a monumental magnitude, as if it were a scaffolding, conceived by multiple cylindrical iron rods. The piece lends an unfinished look and invites one to deceptively step into its interior, as a way of seeking protection of the user. But the openings are sealed; one can only circulate around it in the imaginary plane through the eyes, because it is visible from the outside.

The open venue, configured as a house, with skeleton lines of a building, is close to the architectural lexicon, and the fact that the body cannot pierce the labyrinthic tangle cannot be justified by a lack of room. Regarding this, it holds a subversive side and some humor that is a recurrent theme in the author.

«The exhibitions are a way to implement and test ideas, checking the impact they have» (Didier)

Curiously, in most of his works, Didier pays an increased significance, sometimes crucial, to the viewer’s engagement, where the visitor becomes an active part as a participant actor. Therefore, he usually presents works that can only be completed when booked by the visitor, because the body is one of the key elements in his projects.

In the second room, we are in the presence of the installation Prototype, formed by three structures also in iron, in which GoPro cameras are placed, an integral part of the video Exploring Dead Buildings, which was also conceived in that place. This site is translated into a modern ruin, a purely formal space, characterized by the absence of bodies. In his plastic speech, there is a dialog conducted in the logical sense, where contemporary art is no longer a purely contemplative, rather a social agent to which is inherent the notion of function. In his path, the non-distinction between art and architecture is barefaced. In his interventions, the author manages to establish a close connection, in a cohabitation between the fields of sculpture and architecture, in which one cannot discern whether it is art that nourishes and contaminates the architecture or the opposite. Over the course of his practice, he assumes his dual nature, hence he is not interested in “defining whether it is one thing or another, rather working in the interstitium of both territories” as put by Isabel Carlos in the exhibition Não Confiem nos arquitetos (Gulbenkian, 2011). The fields are not established and coexist on the threshold of the border between both, managing to amicably cohabit between the two disciplines, where he finds, as decisive auxiliary allies for his projects, the design and the design in the construction of ergonomic shapes.

At the beginning of his career, the artist distanced himself from architecture and developed experimental practices that defied the boundaries between art and architecture, where the user’s body is unused as a mediator of the proposal of spaces in a territory of fiction and experimentation, providing experiences that go beyond the common dwelling. For J. Fernandes, the functionality in his architecture persists, it does not disappear, it is questioned yet again from a critical stance, originator of a social reading of existing situations. “Architecture is a tool to ascertain our senses and sharpen our awareness of reality, experiencing fragility, which tends to be erased” (text of the piece Trust me, uttered in simultaneous voices). As a matter of fact, the language is the basis of all his pieces, as a manifesto on thinking about the future.

Manuela Synek has collaborated with Umbigo magazine for over ten years. As the years go by, it identifies itself more and more with this consistent, ever-changing, innovative, bold and consistent design in its editorial line. She is a Historian and Art Critic graduated by the Superior Institute of Artistic Careers of Paris in Critique of Art and Aesthetics. She is also graduated in Aesthetics from the University of Paris I - Panthéon – Sorbonne and has the "Postgraduate Course in History of Art, Contemporary Art Strand", by Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Manuela is the author of books on authors in the area of Plastic Arts and has participated in Colloquiums as Lecturer related to Artistic Heritage; Painting; Sculpture and Design in Universities; Higher Schools and Autarchies. Lately she specialized in the subject of Public Art and Urban Space, with the analysis of the artistic works where she has made Communications. She writes for Umbigo magazine about the work of artists in the area of the visual arts who appear in the field of exhibitions and also the dissemination of emerging Portuguese values with new supports since installation, photography and video, where the body appears in its various aspects, raising pertinent issues.

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