Délio Jasse reveals the hidden side of photography
Invited by Susan Bright, curator of the PhotoEspanha 2019 exhibition, Délio Jasse collaborated with other artists on an exhibition inspired by the traditions and artistic ideas of the past.
The curator’s goal was to display relevant work in this day and age, emphasizing “the changes in the way we understand and use photography today”. The suggestion is to understand more about the mechanism of photography and not so much about what happens on the surface.
Susan expressively characterizes Jasse’s work: “he shows us that memory is not interesting for what it reveals, but for what it conceals”. The artist has explored the subject matter of colonization/decolonization through photography as a memory archive in order to develop contemporary forward-looking interpretations. Through unique installations, often in different scenography spaces, which invite the viewer to understand the image in another way.
In the set of works presented, O Outro Capítulo [The Other Chapter] mixed different processes and resorted to photo negatives, giving them a new life. The images are annotated: stamps, visas, flashy color permits, the trademark and technique of his style and writing. The exhibition space reveals large-sized prints from a hundred slides acquired at the flea market Feira da Ladra, in Lisbon, reproducing different scenes of everyday life. These images hide something and are even more important than what they show, relying on a kind of strategy to confront them with their own context, thus enhancing them.
“I’m interested in telling the story in another way. I need to get into people’s lives. In my studio, I have to be surrounded by them for months“, Délio Jasse
This is how he cultivates the creation of images, using a unique mechanism. In it, he not only reveals the end product, but extends the visual field to the realm of discussion. “I have no interest in making prints of old images. There are more things behind that I myself don’t know, nor can interpret”, he says.
The exhibition has slide projectors around the room, which constantly shoot images to create overlays that embody the Nova Lisboa series, from different devices captured during colonialism in Angola and Mozambique. This set of photos depict neighbourhoods that simulate zinc-plated mountains, crumbling buildings, modernist houses on the brink of demolition, giving way to buildings funded by other countries in what the creator understands as a new form of colonialism.
The photos from this historical period try to hide the lives of most of those living in Angola and Mozambique. In fact, today the “bubble” is identical, only the time and attitude have changed.
The author retrieves one of the crucial axes of his work by questioning the archive as a mechanism for assembling images. It also questions nature, underlining the differences between history and memory in a political/sociological discourse.
Jasse is one of several artists who have been researching colonial imagery and the many issues related to it. For Délio, it’s necessary to reflect on the expurgation of the image of Africans in Portuguese colonial imagery. According to the artist, “photography is not objective and, often, the look of the photographer is more important than the photographed object. The image ends up in a space that is neither totally real nor fictional, neither reality nor memory”.
In 2014, Délio Jasse was one of the three finalists of the BESPHOTO Award, where he presented two cycles: Ausência Permanente and Além-mar. In the same year, he had a solo exhibition entitled Terreno Ocupado, at Galeria Baginski. He is currently living and working in Milan.