And Yet You Go On, at Duplex | AIR

The And Yet You Go On exhibition is an essay on humour and deviation. If we have to characterise it, then it belongs to the ambiguous but stimulating category of post-irony: humour can be a resource for a return to sincerity – the elementary purpose of irony, and for this reason many prefer the term new sincerity – as it can be a quality in itself, free from any moral commitment, in tune with the meme culture that marks the current stage of modernity.

In this feverish and fertile uncertainty, sometimes arbitrary and provocative but never unprofitable or defrauding, lies And Yet You Go On – a collective exhibition by Lea Managil, Pedro Cabrita Paiva and Primeira Desordem.

Objects are cryptic when analysed in isolation. Their messages, the value of these objects (which we believe have no interest in the context of this exhibition) emerge in the ability to read the whole. A braid of electronic cables by Primeira Desordem is forgotten on the floor at the very beginning of the journey. It is the preparation of the exhibition speech, in a tangle of wills, thoughts and virtues, from separate parts of a whole, which remain contiguous, nevertheless.

The clapboard is also no longer used; it becomes a sculpture or toy when the slate that hits and starts the action is segmented into several parts. Or, as the introductory text states, it becomes a hand that jocularly beckons us into an apparent arbitrariness.

The scenic or cinematic darkness fits into the multimedia media and the many references to cinema, by preparing an experimental and televisual black box for the works, the artists, their artistic, plastic or narrative processes, and the visitor. Between the traffic of signs and meanings, and the discrepancy between image and text, the exhibition – the humour – gradually grows in the spirit of the spectator, in a tentative, doubtful way.

Lea Managil prepares the rhythmic soundtrack for the exhibition: the soundcheck vibrates in the dark, and the white finger and microphone glow under the light; a mouth articulates a message distorted by the repetitive oscillation of a finger – that children’s play; far away, also under a spot of light, the herbs grow between the metal mesh of a dead microphone. We never get the message, maybe it is not even interesting, because that is exactly what it is. Lost in translation.

Pedro Cabrita Paiva rehearses a hacking system, not only composed of tools, objects, but also by meanings or uses. A screwdriver is not for screwing, but for spending matter or material: the pencil is sharpened until it disappears, in the perpetual revolutions of the tool. Then, the motif into the darkness. The lamp is broken. In Accident #3, on the floor, is the fluorescence of the shards of the lamp that emit light, in a logic opposite to the machine of the night city or the cinema.

Proposed by Primeira Desordem, the disproportion between photographic credits and image in Stones as Themselves is a counterintuitive and subversive exercise on film logic. It suggests a reversal of weight and measure as to what has more value: the image or the text and the naming of the image?

Very (post-)ironically, the question and the uncertainty do not lead to frustration, because the smile triumphs in the face and the spirit. Da fuk iz goin on – we do not know, perhaps we do not want to know – and yet we go on, between the doubt of the message that does not arrive, the light that does not totally illuminate, the image that does not trigger the action, but that vibrates from curiosity, interest, challenges and stimuli.

And Yet You Go On, at Duplex | AIR, until December 4, with a text by João Seguro.

José Rui Pardal Pina (n. 1988) has a master's degree in architecture from I.S.T. in 2012. In 2016 he joined the Postgraduate Course in Art Curation at FCSH-UNL and began to collaborate in the Umbigo magazine. Curator of Dialogues (2018-), an editorial project that draws a bridge between artists and museums or scientific and cultural institutions with no connection to contemporary art.

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