Salomé Lamas online at Kubikgallery
The beginning of the short film Coup de Grace reveals our own state: static, unable to act and intervene. We are again passive spectators, a situation from which we had already freed ourselves. We can only consent and observe what is happening.
The film by Salomé Lamas (1987, Lisbon) can be seen online, after being projected on-screen at Kubikgallery, in Porto, since February 22. The existence of the video depends on a means of projection. This technological instrument is the mediator between the audience and the film. The same happens with television, conveyor of mass media news, which makes the bridge between the programmer and the audience. In the artistic creation and journalistic construction, what we see, the point of view and the duration of it, are previously defined elements. The narratives presented walk towards an unknown direction. We can only wait.
The slow and serene beginning of Salomé Lamas’ work is an example of man’s occupation of the Earth. The transformation of space, natural environments and ecosystems. At the same time, it questions the human condition, as is usual in the artist.
In this film, after some time of contemplation, when the gaze is already used to the scenario presented, a new preponderant element appears. A male figure is, like the spectator, a voyeur, in a role played by actor Miguel Borges, the scene’s protagonist. With him, and with actress Clara Jost, who plays her daughter, a journey begins. Without a structured narrative, with a beginning, middle or end, it is a story about loss, survival and love.
The action has an unexpected, unusual and surrealistic dynamic, scenarios with aesthetic quality. The same is true for Ubi Stunt II, another short film, which comes after the first moment and precedes the third and last. As in Coup de Grace, this video is marked by a strong connection with the visual field, now a landscape. And the only character is played by the artist and performer Christoph Both-Asmus, who has collaborated with Lamas in recent years.
We see a magnetic scene that represents life, floral and colorful, but also death, quiet and absolute. Along with this formal, visual and conceptual depth, several questions arise about current affairs, in the dialogues between the artist and the protagonist. The character himself remains in suspense, an interrupted time that shows his passage through the light that accompanies him. It is a smooth transition between twilight and the arrival of darkness. A certain tension is transferred from the scene to the spectator, while the actor remains, to quote him, “persistent between water and fire”.
Both films show that Salomé Lamas’ work has its own rhythm, which does not obey contemporary speed. In both plays, the images translate into strong emotions and senses, which lead the spectator to introspection. What we feel is provoked by the characters. It is through the other that we think about ourselves.
The accurate shots, angles and perspectives of the filming also deserve to be highlighted. It is the typical technical mastery in the artist’s work. Although Salomé Lamas always comes with something new, her several stories, images and speeches are correlated. She has her own expression.
She is, for this reason, one of the Portuguese contemporary artists with the greatest talent behind the camera. This makes her practice in other visual arts even more remarkable. Salomé Lamas stands out in Portugal, but her creation reaches lands abroad.
Her most recent exhibition, Parafacts, opened at Kubikgallery on February 22. Curated by Sérgio Mah, it is defined by the already mentioned works Coup de Grace (2017) and Ubi Stunt II (2018). Both can be seen on Vimeo, whose links and passwords should be requested through the email firstname.lastname@example.org. The public can also take an online guided tour of the exhibition, made by the artist, on the gallery’s YouTube channel (video below).
Regarding the physical space of the exhibition, in dialogue with the two videos, an engraving and a series of photographs, Self Portrait (2018) and Dream the World (2017), respectively, are presented. Accompanying the artist’s exhibition is also a piece by António Olaio outside, in the Kubikulo showcase.
About Salomé Lamas, the works of this exhibition project are visually striking and closely linked to the viewer. They are the result of her transdisciplinary abilities, which combine practices, techniques, materialities and expressions. It is relevant in different times, spaces and contexts. These qualities are in all the artist’s work, which proves again its worth.
 Porto, Rua da Restauração, no 6.