Speculative Intimacy, by Alicia Kopf

As transpired by the title, Speculative Intimacy is an exhibition of conjectures. An extensive research that, through different materials and languages, presents videos and installations, with pop culture references, shared experiences, and exchanges of scientific-quasi-scientific emails. The aim is to create a broad discourse on a vital question – in this case, it revolves around the attraction of bodies (celestial and others more mundane), their orbits and the result of their encounters, in a fictional (or not) quest for new affective galaxies.

– attraction and conquest, personal space, and shared space – velocities.

Her interest is not limited to quantum or astrophysics per se, but (and perhaps above all) to their potential metaphors. – Whether it is to try to understand the reason for attraction and desire, or the proposal/simulation of (dense) interactions and relationships between Man and technology, the artist seems to resort (here) to cosmology to wander the universe of intimacy.

– the walls were painted in lilac.

Alicia Kopf, or Imma Ávalos (the first is the real name and the second the artistic name, but they coexist) is an artist born in Girona, Spain. Although she made her first (independent) publication in 2011, in 2016 she caught the international artistic circuit’s eye with her book Brother in Ice. Her first publication Ways of (not) coming home, like the book Brother in Ice, shares the same context: first and foremost, there is a conceptual framework, an idea or notion that Alicia has a genuine interest in exploring, for deeply practical and experienced reasons; outlining an initial direction, the projects (impossible to peremptorily sum up as “books”) can begin with a series of photographs, a compendium of excerpts from her or others. It does not particularly matter how the projects begin. Not from the point of view of the speed with which disciplines merge – and what is (and is!) supposed to be a book ends up with diagrams, WhatsApp messages, drawings, photographs, etc.

– in the first room there are, except for a video where we see app-related gestures being reproduced on the faces of different young people, two areas formed by tiles. The tiles have things written and drawn by hand.

In a conversation with Alicia, I realized that the works result from a continuous research that gathers different visual and literary references, collected from different disciplines and contexts. – She finishes a series; she gathers new information – there is something that has not been fully chewed or that needs to be digested again and quickly the leap to the next moment happens – she gives it a new carcass; a new name; she puts it in another context, next to other works, within a new (or not) [renewed (or not)] ideology. Always aware of the typical susceptibility of things.

– from the universe, Alicia brings us ideas of magnetism, repetition, trap; uncertainty, seduction, desire; projection, intimacy, intrusion and affection. Among others.

Adding to the interests and historical-metaphorical references of physics and quantum, Alicia explores (figuratively or not) the growing and imposing relationship and dependence of Man on technology. In the last of the three rooms of the exhibition, we can see a video where Alicia, from an argument co-created with a chatterbot, proposes, as if it were a preview, the portrait of a despotic and abusive relationship between a woman and a drone.

– body with body, human or not.

Whether from a cosmic or technological point of view, Alicia, more than declaring a new existence through some thesis or proposition, seeks, with this constant crossing of personal and universal questions, a refreshing way to inhabit a theme she considers vital and where she feels the need to venture.

Speculative Intimacy is (will be) Alicia Kopf’s third book. Like the previous two, it has been written between exhibitions, until the time comes when the artist feels somehow satiated. Until then, she takes notes – she gathers materials, merges worlds, and adulterates others.

Speculative Intimacy, curated by Bruno Marchand, until November 20, 2020, at Fidelidade Arte, Lisbon.

Rui Gueifão (Almada, 1993), lives and works in Lisbon. He is graduated in Visual Arts by ESAD.CR and is also a master’s degree student of Philosophy-Aesthetics at FCSH – Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He has collaborated with different contemporary art related spaces and institutions as Museu Fundação Coleção Berardo, Caroline Pàges Gallery and Galeria Baginski. Since 2018 he has been producing different types of text work, having already contributed for publications and exhibition texts. He has been developing and exhibiting his artistic work since 2015.

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