Blind Sun, by Elisa Strinna

Fidelidade Arte (former Chiado 8) has always been a diversified curatorial project, focused on less known artists and with a conceptual approach. This was how Bruno Marchand’s curatorship was, inviting artists such as Armanda Duarte, João Penalva and Ricardo Jacinto, among others. And Delfim Sardo, the curator of Culturgest (who is also a curator of this exhibition that brings the two institutions together), maintains the same artist-inclusive approach, whose work challenges the current frameworks.

In Blind Sun, Elisa Strinna (Padua, 1982) shows several important efforts of her work: the relationship between the human being and the digital technology he creates, between the real and the virtual, the natural and the artificial, and the interaction with the landscape and nature.

After an artistic residency in the Netherlands in 201, at the Jan Van Eyck Academy, Elisa is conducting a research about the path of fibre cables that cross the ocean floor, travelling through Europe to North Africa and then on to Asia and Oceania. These cables allow us to carry our digital information, virtually connecting the entire world. These thin silicon cables are coated with latex and cannot be seen by us. But underwater life makes them part of their surrounding environment, as they do with every piece of debris, as if maritime life invaded the invader, appropriating these constructed and synthetic materials.

Strinna replicates, with her ceramic pieces placed on the gallery’s walls or floor, a kind of maritime archaeology. At the same time, she takes us to a primordial creation, with its primitive multicellular forms, among them the sea sponges, and how they drink original water to develop themselves from the symbiosis with the surrounding environment. But these ceramic sculptures have organic and artificial matter, with their cables that come out of the wall in our direction, as if they were arthritic fingers. These ceramic pieces are delicate and organic, but also artificial and raw. And if ceramics make them similar to an archaeological find, some details refer to a process of putrefaction, typical of living beings.

In addition to her work in ceramics, Strinna also produces musical sculptures and composes soundscapes for her sculptures. An example of this is Blind Sun (2019), a sound installation created for Fidelidade Arte, in collaboration with the musician Roberto Francesco Dani and the soprano Beatriz Ventura. This composition nurtures anxiety and contributes to the existence of this primordial place of creation, transmitted by the other sculptures. The vocal choirs are melodic and epic, intersected by electronic sounds that take us to the bottom of the sea or to the limits of the galaxy, in a disturbing sound that increases the restlessness created by the pieces on display.

If, in the various works presented, Strinna explores the subject of circulation through the cables and their relationship with the surrounding environment, in the video Unproductive Glory (2019) the artist annihilates this circulation with the noisy and widespread destruction of the electric communication cables of a factory (through the construction of replicas of these same cables). If, with her ceramic sculptures, Strinna takes us to a primitive place of creation of the world, Unproductive Glory shows us the error. The absence or loss of communication.

This is Elisa Strinna’s first exhibition in Portugal. It is part of a series of exhibitions (three per year) of the project Chain Reaction, where the artists, in tandem with the curator, choose the next artist. Elisa Strinna was proposed by Jimmie Durham, which was suggested by Ângela Ferreira. She began this annual cycle, invited by Delfim Sardo. The exhibition will now go to Culturgest Porto. At the end of each year, a book is published about the three exhibitions of that same period.

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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