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We Are Also The Ghosts – Catarina Mil-Homens at UMA LULIK_

The ghosts that Catarina Mil-Homens presents at UMA LULIK_ do what impacts us when we believe in their presence or existence. A dialogue about lightness, its apparent immateriality, and the weight – perhaps – of fear’s density.

In an exhibition built from cumulative processes – material and affective -, Catarina Mil-Homens allows us to experience our body in relation to the qualities of who stands before a ghost, in a dialogue between material and immaterial.

This is the accumulation of glass layers (We Are Also The Ghosts, 2022), displayed with the help of steel ropes, defying gravity and showing that the notion of lightness is only apparent. The piece is composed of two tons of glass. This, before our eyes and senses, seems paradoxical considering the nature of the ghost – a position on the edge of anything.

Accumulating and collecting, as well as the gesture of gathering, do not only concern the notion of layer and glass. It is also a gesture of accumulation of temporal and geographical textures. The piece (Mortalhas, 2022) has a compact line, composed of tree bark from a particular territory. Paper bark tree is the name of the tree from which the artist, since 2015, has collected pieces present in the exhibition. The tree lives in Australia, so ghosts can also be allies. In this case, the result of this intense eight-year experience in a territory now revisited by materials and affections, the transit component also marks the exhibition. This recalls not only the material side, but what is invisible and has no tangible body – the memory and the awareness of a body in front of these multiple bodies, which demand a place in the space next to our shell.

The video 1709 Cascas De Mim (2022) presents a meticulous work of register that speaks with the work Mortalhas. There are 1709 frames of bark that Catarina Mil-Homens presents in a movement that shows the journey of the material into itself, something that confirms the balance between matter and non-matter throughout the exhibition.

To remark this balance, and besides the use of materials with high density and rigidity, such as glass, steel or iron, there is a dialogue between these elements and others: charcoal, resin, and tree bark. The weight rests on the lightness and poetics of nature, which grants balance to the exhibition and the opacity of most of the works. A balance to which the glass leads us. Although it can be rigid and compact, Catarina Mil-Homens offers us the double face of glass – a rough opacity, as in the piece (Lâminas, 2022), but also a sensitive transparency, as in the work (Return, 2022).

The first piece in the exhibition is an ellipse drawn with coal dust on the gallery floor. It is a drawing that uses glass in its transparent condition. As charcoal is a material favoured by the artist – and one that rests on paper in her design work – in the case of Return, the three-dimensionality of the works on paper take on a body in space, inviting us to experience a drawing opening a path so that we may cross it.

After all, we can also be ghosts.

We Are Also The Ghosts by Catarina Mil-Homens is at UMA LULIK_ until October 22.

Rita Anuar (Vila Franca de Xira, 1994), is an interdisciplinary researcher, graduated in Communication Sciences, Postgraduate in Philosophy (Aesthetics) and Master in History of Contemporary Art, from the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She has been part of the research group in Literature, Philosophy and Arts (FCSH / IELT), since 2020. She is interested in the intersections between visual arts, philosophy and literature, indiscipline and wind. Apart from her activity as a researcher, she writes poetry.

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