Encontros da Imagem 2022: Lugares Comuns
The thirty-second edition of Encontros da Imagem: Festival Internacional de Fotografia e Artes Visuais, with the motto Lugares Comuns, has fifty exhibitions in twenty-six venues in Braga, Porto, Guimarães, Barcelos and Avintes. And also conferences, film sessions, screenings, educational actions and portfolio readings. By inviting photographers and holding two open calls, the projects encompass ninety-six national and international artists, renowned and emerging. The contemporaneity is fed by distinct photographic records, more conceptual, plastic or documentary, with sociopolitical approaches or more intimate perspectives. There are various formats and supports: conventional, moving pictures, not to mention the artist’s book or mupis. And three prizes are awarded: Discovery Awards, according to the theme of the edition; Emergentes, for the best contemporary photography portfolios; and Photobook Award EI for artist’s books, produced manually and independently.
In Lugares Comuns Importam, from the Encontros da Imagem catalogue, João Acciaiuoli Catalão says: «Common places matter. They are passages where we perceive sacred ancestral links. With individual and collective rhythms that build their places in the landscape». The artist, curator and cultural programmer recalls the Festival’s theme, allowing us to question the role of image as an instigating medium of sometimes contradictory notions, which give us senses of belonging, proximity and community. Through the exhibition projects of the thirty-second edition of Encontros da Imagem, we feel the differences, frictions and reverberations, but also the connections, analogies and connections between visions. The narratives, forms and fragments, between public and private, built and natural places, made of thought and dream, body and landscape, allow us to understand the images as common places, nourishing the connections of this time of ours.
First, at Galeria do Paço-UMINHO, we see the exhibition of photobooks of the finalists of the Photobook Award 2022. Each presents a different form, content and aesthetic, in a relatively handmade fashion. This proves how important the medium is for the display of a photo project. We highlight this year’s winners: Hiroshima Graph Everlasting Flow by Yoshikatsu Fujii, 4 a.m. by Paul Cupido and Two Thousand Words by Roberto Aguirrezabala.
In the same venue, we see several exhibitions, underlining Encontros’ eclecticism. Each artist has their own place, whose curatorship is aligned with the intentions, purposes and perspectives of each project. We begin our journey with Sonia Hamza’s series, Bangkok’s Chinatown beats to its own drum, winner of the Second Prize of the Discovery Awards 2022. This is a project produced during a two-month stay in Bangkok, where the artist grew curious about the shop-houses in Chinatown, a microcosm of humanity. She presents images of broad horizontality, framed in colourful patterns, as if they were windows into a private universe, where public and private life, work and leisure come together.
Then we stop at a project of great impact and actuality, I Peri N’Tera, by Daniel Castro Garcia, one of the invited photographers. Through photographs, texts and moving images, he shows the effects of African migration in Italy, from the immigrants’ accounts.
In another room of this historic building in Braga, we see the project that won the First Prize of theDiscovery Awards 2022, Unutursan Darilmam [I Won’t Be Upset If You Forget Me] by Ci Demi. The Turkish photographer, who was in lockdown for months due to COVID-19, went outdoors and recorded the images possible in this context. He then studied, edited and classified them, but also wrote about them, in a contemplative perspective, where time and poetry are revealed in each portrait.
The Good Life by Elizabeth Pedinotti Haynes, Third Place at the Discovery Awards 2022, is an intimate series in which the American artist thinks about her concerns about raising children, especially in white suburban parenting, where there is a notion that boys should be aggressive and stoic. Images of domestic space, in a union between photography and collage. We highlight a self-portrait with multiple shirts, disturbingly and particularly highlighting her struggles.
Finally, Las Flores mueren dos veces by Cristóbal Ascencio involves us in the blackbox format venue, where the artist recreates a kind of altar with photographs paying tribute to his father, Margarito, a gardener who died twice. The first when the photographer was fifteen and the second at the age of thirty, when he was told that his father had committed suicide.
At Museu Nogueira da Silva we have the exhibitions of two guest artists. Rita Lino, with Replica, shows a new understanding of the body and the model through images. Although the artist is part of them, they are a representative identity, just like sculpture, shadow or movement. And Lois Cid, with Estructuras de fusión, uses documentary photography techniques to make them abstract and poetic, isolating fragments of landscape together with her sculptures. The aim is to investigate how humanity modifies the territory with the materials it extracts, uses and transforms.
At GNRATION we see exhibition by two artists from the Emergentes 2021 competition. Lena Holzer with A Shadow in the Shape of a House, a portrait of a familiar environment, given the photographs taken in an uninhabited house opposite the artist’s childhood home. We see objects from a place that once had life, nurturing the imagination and memories of our past. And Rosa Lacavalla, with Sana Sana, impresses us with her large-scale montage of printed photographs outside the building’s main courtyard. This project shows the artist’s journey and reflection about self-healing, through self-representations of her physical pain. And, yes, the winners of the Emergentes 2022 award have already been announced: M’hammed Kilito with Before it’s gone, Victoria Jung with Birds Of Passage and Madelaine Ekserciyan with Mayrig.
In Braga, we also highlight these exhibitions: Todos os sítios: braga centro by André Castanho at Galeria da Estação – Encontros da Imagem; We’re not in hell, but very far from heaven by Renato Chorão at Museu dos Biscainhos; Berlin by Diane Meyer at Theatro Circo; and, finally, the exhibitions from last year’s Emergentes award at Mosteiro de Tibães.
In Porto, we highlight Roma (La casa grande) by Bernadita Morello at Galeria Salut au Monde!, where the artist focuses on her relationship with her mother, but also with her daughter, through trips to her mother’s house in the city of Esquel, Argentine Patagonia. We see fragments of landscapes and family daily life, in various formats. They are extremely delicate pictures, both for their content, form and framing, not least because of the flowers and vegetal motifs in the exhibition, in a tribute to her mother, reminding us of our childhood memories. We also highlight Blinded by Rico Schwartzberg at Adorna Galeria, where the artist under lockdown in his New York flat during COVID-19 photographed the outside through the blinds, creating abstract polaroid-format images. This adds another materiality, reminding us of the principles of the darkroom and photography, notions of voyeurism, or the iconic films Alfred Hitchcock’s Indiscreet Window(1954) and Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960). And we must also mention the exhibition Atlas de Baixa Altitude & Outras Espécies by João Paulo Serafim at The Cave Photography.
Encontros da Imagem – Associação Cultural, the show’s organizing body, directed by Carlos Fontes, Carla Bacelar Ferreira and Tiago Dias dos Santos, goes beyond the Festival. Its mission is to promote, appreciate and preserve a collection of about four thousand images, gathered over thirty-two years, and to promote young photographers through Galeria Estação (inaugurated this year) and itinerant exhibitions outside Braga, the project’s main city.
The thirty-second edition of Encontros da Imagem: Festival Internacional de Fotografia e Artes Visuais may be visited until October 30, 2022.