Parallax by Susana Rocha at Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes

Going up Avenida da Liberdade, turning left to Rua Barata Salgueiro, the second from the Marquês de Pombal roundabout. Going straight ahead, crossing Rua Mouzinho da Silveira and Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes emerges on the right. As we enter, the exhibition is on the first floor, after two flights of wooden stairs. After the walk, and finding the objects in an area as wide as a stage, I lean my heavy backpack against a white wall, far away, at the beginning/end of the stairs.

The works are presented as objects in a scenery, signifying elements of a revealed language. We see curves, straights, circles, distensions like acrobatics, which are dialectic, absurdly static. This is a gymnastics environment, almost school-like physical education – rhythmic gymnastics hoops, Swiss balls, throwing discs, a post.

Everything is reshaped into new forms and contexts.

The hoops are attached to the wall and tied by two faded blue loops, a pigment exactly like one of them; the Swiss balls are not that, rather it is the rubber that prompts this idea – they are stretched out, peanut-shaped, a dysplastic but even extension connecting the two circles; the supposed throwing discs are marble circles, joined by a blue ribbon, just like the arches that illusorily support them, although they only embrace them; the post seems to resemble a world of references – goalpost, volleyball antenna, high jump structure – without ever revealing itself. Its formality, mixing black and white stripes – visible contrast -, ubiquitous in many sports to increase the players’ visibility, connects it to the Blindsided, sheet metal structures with strict and regular black and white formalities, walking from the shutter to the backrest, to the window, to the piano, leaning tightly on the wall, seeming to rest between the wall and the floor.

The Twist series is a minimal combination of curves and straights, two universes of movement. The spotlight reveals shadows that illusorily intend to suggest a double object – springs that develop like somersaults, from a shallow point to the curvature that leads them to an equal end, or a first rounded calligraphy, starting on a line to reveal the rest, writing the intimate logic in which forms materialize. As the exhibition’s title suggests, the works are read according to the walk we take between them, their dispositions allow us to go through them sinuously, like obstacles and a physical test of contemplation.

Imaginary movements vibrate in each one, all stopped, acrobatics of a parallax view, a consequence of the gaze. A parallax also has a phonetic similarity to paralysis. They try to move, to transcend themselves.

Eventually, I noticed that my backpack on the floor did not stand out from the objects in the room: I had been in a class that never happened. I put it on my back and became an object.

Parallax by Susana Rocha is at Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes until October 15.

Miguel Pinto (Lisbon, 2000) is graduated in Art History by NOVA/FCSH and made his internship at the National Museum of Azulejo. He has participated in the research project VEST - Vestir a corte: traje, género e identidade(s) at the Humanities Centre of the same institution. He has created and is running the project Parte da Arte, which tries to investigate the artistic scene in Portugal through video essays.

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