Museu das Obsessões: For the eyes that never blink by Christian Andersson and Ensaio sobre a Gordura by Ana de Almeida

“Donald Judd and Michael Fried dreamed of a pure eye, a subject-less eye, without roe or sargassum (i.e., without rhythm and remains): counter versions, naive in their radicality, of the surrealist naivety in dreaming of an untamed eye.” [1]

Our relation to the real is only a mental equation about what is laid out in front of us, something that is impossible to merely see. The wild eye, mentioned in the passage that I use as a preamble to this piece, is entirely utopian. That eye, freed from any housing, freed from a body that thinks about the elements that permeate it, is unattainable. In For the eyes that never blink, Christian Andersson raises a provocation: this exhibition is for eyes that never blink, subject-less eyes, to the misfortune of the visitors’ eyes.

The exhibited works are indications of a dreamlike and complicit side of reality, in a game where visible and invisible materialise and dematerialise, blurring together. The invisible field analyses reality, creating a fusion and enabling doubt to settle on the latter – reality as a replica, the possibility of bringing what is dreamed to the surface and sheltering it in the real. This eye that, while not blinking, also does not interrupt its connection with the visible. It forces the dilution of what is dreamt into reality, in an exercise that cannot be escaped. Given the limitation of our imprisoned eyes, we can only imagine what that uninterrupted gallery would be like, with full continuity. A palimpsest that ceases to be as we perceive its indelible predecessor.

In Ensaio sobre a Gordura, by Ana de Almeida, we see a peculiar archive that questions notions of archivism as the enforcement of hierarchies and facts, as well as the notion of fiction always attached to the idea of archive, but which easily eludes us. In making an archive, we always create a fictionalised narrative: gathering all the facts in the world about the same subject is impossible, so completing the archival gesture is fiction. The wild eye can be referred to again here – perhaps a wild gesture would be necessary for there to be no fiction in an archive: a robotic, disembodied gesture capable of impartially archiving the world.

In this horizontal brief, perhaps evading hierarchy, Ana Almeida brings together 90 soaps that add body and smell to historical fragments chosen by the artist. These images share the existing ruin of a factory complex (initially owned by the well-known industrialist Johan Schicht and later nationalised to create the North Bohemian Fat Industries – Setuza) from a residence of the artist in the city of Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic. When we see this archive, we often find fragments of the demolished building, fragile and fleeting as part of the archive. These are political memories, resistant and persistent, that search in us a body to go beyond soap’s ephemerality.

For the eyes that never blink, by Christian Andersson and Ensaio sobre a Gordura, by Ana de Almeida are the most recent proposal of the cycle Museu das Obsessões, curated by Ana Anacleto. Until June 12, at Centro de Artes Visuais [CAV], in Coimbra.



[1] Didi-Huberman, Georges. (2011). O que nós vemos, o que nos olha. Porto: Dafne Editora. p. 57

Daniel Madeira (Coimbra, 1992) has a degree in Artistic Studies from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra and a Master's in Curatorial Studies from the Colégio das Artes at the same university. Between 2018 and 2021, he coordinated the Exhibition Space and the Educational Project of the Águeda Arts Center. Currently, he collaborates with the Círculo de Artes Plásticas de Coimbra (CAPC).

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