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The Skull of The Haunted Snail, by Andreia Santana

(…) Because it’s part of the properties of glass. Even if this is crystal glass, it is not the reason why it lets itself be seen immediately. It is necessary to get closer, to walk around, to see it from various angles; to step back a bit and then get closer again – To try to understand the cavities. I also noticed some gymnastics in the irons. With clear and translucid contours, with a light semblance and elegant movements, they seem very assure of their mission (or the mission that was proposed to them) – To hold or perhaps exhibit, with a fitting and justified grace, those same pieces made with crystal glass. The material conjugation fuels an immediate contrast, although there is an umbilical relationship between both. The iron, black and not that thick, is a recurrent material in Andreia’s work. It extends, articulates, assumes itself as an object with several arms and, consequently, movements and positions. Glass doesn’t provide much; almost deformed pieces, condensed in themselves, camouflaged in their transparency. The contrast extends in the apparent fragility of the irons as opposed to the (, I believe,) weight of the concentrated pieces of glass, since the former supports the latter.

The Skull of The Hunted Snail is Andreia Santana’s most recent exhibition, with seven new works created specifically for this moment. With Bruno Leitão as its curator, it is on view until November 21 at Hangar, in Lisbon.

Soul Houses, a title shared by the seven works, were small models of (supposedly) houses built in clay in Ancient Egypt. According to historical records, these models were placed over the graves, possibly to create a space where the dead could, in the next life, find eternal lodging and a haven. Andreia somehow sought to reactivate these Soul Houses (now made of glass) without necessarily recovering their historical purpose. By taking a sculptural object with historical value, the idea was to try to empirically understand the boundary between the senses and meanings attributed by Man, and the object itself in its natural permeability. Can a functionally obsolete object ever cross the boundaries of this classification and become something else? I feel that there is a willingness to achieve (and demand) a certain transparency that allows one to see the possibilities of a thing in multiple aspects. As opposed to constant labelling, always in search of maximum accuracy, delimiting the surrounding world and its potential, where we run the risk of constantly stumbling over limiting conclusions. It seems that, both with the movement implicit in the pieces, and with the idea associated to soul houses, Andreia wants to recover the circumstance. Everything depends on too many factors for us to conclude anything about anything; and I can see that there is a will to underline the performativity inherent to things, their endless forms. It is also possible to ask whether all the rest is not just reading-related issues.

In The Skull of The Hunted Snail, we can see this mobility, this idea of permanent dance – we have this artifact, these soul houses, an ancient thing! Which we believe were used thousands of years ago. We study this thing, we put it in showcases and hope it stays there assume it stays there! Unchanging behind the window, ha, how precious! And it was at this moment that Andreia decided to intervene. Besides having given this artifact (and the idea of it) a new (now transparent) body with soft contours, she has above all given a new dimension to something that for thousands of years has been just one thing.

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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