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Invisible Flowers: Noé Sendas at Galeria Presença

Invisible Flowers by Noé Sendas, curated by Ana Anacleto, at Galeria Presença, presents ten new assemblages by the artist. Besides evoking Shakespearean theatre, through Ophelia’s invisible flowers, it explores the English playwright’s proposal to juxtapose two instances of reality, to create a new signification. This idea reminds us of André Malraux’s concept of the imaginary museum, as a confrontation of metamorphoses, but also of filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s concept of montage as a fraternity of metaphors.

In the exhibition text, the curator says the following about Noé Sendas’ work: “In a permanent investigation on memory and its unfoldings, working with found or acquired image relics, the artist performs a meticulous process of juxtaposition, trying to establish productive encounters based on the formal and evocative characteristics of the images. In these encounters, he tests new narrative possibilities”.

In the room, with the white cube’s aseptic ambience, we find the Invisible Flowers (2021) series. Each piece is named after a different flower, where the artist juxtaposes reproductions of sculptures from classical antiquity – for example, the Victory of Samothrace – and the crashing of waves; or the image of someone typing at a desk with the flight of seagulls over the sea; or the face of a Greco-Roman sculpture with a staircase. There is the conformity with Shakespeare’s work, which, through a double symbolism, allows the spectator to understand the character’s complex psychology. Specifically in the fourth act of the tragedy Hamlet, when Ophelia walks around the castle singing and handing out invisible flowers to passers-by, after the death of her father and the rejection of Prince Hamlet. Sendas exhibits invisible flowers by editing various images, extending them into the exhibition space, enhancing the production of other narratives, corporealities and imaginaries, beyond the reproductions’ initial signification and function.

In the Binding (2018) series, exhibited at multiple times, Noé Sendas uses images from the book Les Merveilles de l’Art Antique (1946) by Georges Daux, and juxtaposes reproductions of sculptures with images printed on postcards, combining them with three-dimensional elements to sculpturally expand the image field.

In the last room, we see the diptych TETE JEUNE FEMME, Bronze. Setereograph (2021), where Sendas again constructs a dialectic of images, the classical face and waves. This feeds rhizomatic narratives, reminding us of the poetics of its multiple derivations and summoning up other possibilities within us.

It is as if we were before an imaginary museum, according to André Malraux: “only images of things, different from things themselves, and finding in this specific difference the reason for their being” [1] – i. e., a confrontation of metamorphoses, between past, present and future; an intellectualisation of the great narratives of the History of Western Art, of the micronarratives of contemporaneity and our own understanding of the world and of art in a daily clash with a vicissitude of images. According to Malraux: “It is the song of metamorphosis, which no one has heard before us – the song where aesthetics, dreams and religions are only librettos of an inexhaustible music”[2].

In Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989-1999), Jean-Luc Godard creates a free-associative essay, a kind of poem, where he superimposes film images, paintings, photographs, current affairs and text, with a soundtrack encompassing classical music or jazz, along with voice-over, dialogues and repetitive sounds. This tells us the history of cinema and questions the artistic practice itself. A montage is defined by the director as a fraternity of metaphors, where the viewer is free to interpret its meaning. The French philosopher Jacques Rancière reflects on this: “[Godard] creates a surface where all the images can slide over each other. He defines the thoughtfulness of images through two essential features.  […] Each image takes on the aspect of a form, an attitude, a suspended gesture. Somehow, each gesture retains the power that Balzac gave his marquise – to condense a story into a painting – but also to trigger another story” [3]. In Noé Sendas’ exhibition Invisible Flowers, a three-dimensional surface is generated, where images are juxtaposed, gliding across our gaze and compass. Each one acquires another form, body and imaginary, feeding other narratives, compositions and poetics, which confront us with imagery of the past, metamorphosed into present and future. When we leave the gallery, in the showcase we can still see the sculpture Tabula Rasa, a quotation from a performance by the North-American artist Charles Ray. As the curatorial text tells us: “it protagonises the permanence of the memory of an action humanly impossible to extend”.

Finally, and briefly, we quote some words from the Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges, curiously found in Histoire(s) du cinéma: “If a man crossed paradise in his dreams and/or received a flower as proof of his passage and/or when he woke up found this flower in his hands, what could he say then?”[4].

Invisible Flowers by Noé Sendas is at Galeria Presença until January 22, 2022.

 

[1] Malraux, A. (2021). O Museu Imaginário. Lisboa: Edições 70. p.10.

[2] Id. Ibid., p. 261.

[3] Rancière, J. (2010). O Espectador Emancipado. Lisboa: Orfeu Negro. p.187.

[4] Godard, J.-L. (1989–1999). Histoire(s) du cinéma [filme].

 

 

Ana Martins (Porto, 1990) PhD student at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, holds a master’s degree in Art Studies – Museum and Curatorial Studies at FBAUP, with the dissertation “O Cinema Exposto – Entre a Galeria e o Museu: Exposições de Realizadores Portugueses (2001-2020)” and graduated in Cinema from the ESTC of the IPL and in Heritage Management from the ESE of the IPP. She was a researcher at the Projeto CHIC – Cooperative Holistic view on Internet Content, supporting the integration of artist films into the National Cinema Plan and the creation of content for the FBAUP Online Catalog of Films and Videos by Portuguese Artists. She also received a scholarship from inED – Center for Research and Innovation in Education, providing support in the areas of production, communication and advice on cultural events. She collaborates in the field of Art Direction in cinema, television and advertising. She is one of the founders and curators of Coletivo Hera. She writes for Umbigo magazine.

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