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Quero um dia em que não se espere nada de mim

The issues of loneliness and isolation are increasingly relevant in contemporary society, especially after the collective experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all experienced loneliness and isolation, whether in fleeting moments or profound feelings of disconnection with others. These are universal and timeless sentiments, addressed by artists over the centuries. At Appleton the exhibition Quero um dia em que não se espera nada de mim talks about this, with the artists Bert Timmermans, Horácio Frutuoso, Isabel Cordovil, Joana Ramalho, José Carlos Teixeira, Luís Barbosa, Mag Rodrigues and Pedro Lagoa.

This contemporary portrait of solitude begins with Isabel Cordovil’s work Isobel (2022). The piece is a bronze case to hold two revolvers. Cordovil left it open, where we see the silhouette of the two revolvers it once contained, which belonged to his grandfather[1]. The work seems to be a personal reflection on his family history. The artist’s decision to cast the case in bronze, a material normally associated with monuments and memorials, makes the piece obtain the rank of a celebratory sculpture. The violence is felt even with the revolvers absent.

José Carlos Teixeira then shows the video-essay On Exile (2016-17), where he analyses depression through interviews with people who share stories about this illness. On Exile is a testimony to the human vulnerability and complexity of a hardly definable illness. The film is a personal account of each person’s anguish, but also a political and social statement about the impact of depression on individuals, communities and society as a whole.

In another perspective on isolation, we have the work Estabelecimento Prisional da Guarda (2016) by Luís Barbosa, a black and white photograph of the interior of a prison. In the image we don’t see people, but their absence is intense. It is a work about isolation and punishment, but also about the way prison institutions can contribute to loneliness and disconnection with the outside world.

Another highlight is the work of Joana Ramalho mental illness is no joke (2020). The work’s title is written repeatedly on a small page displayed on the wall. The use of repetition generates a sense of urgency about the need to address mental health. The work is lit with a light that creates a spotlight effect, drawing our attention to the page, and showing the need to reflect on the stigmas we have about mental illness.

Finally, at the centre of the exhibition room, Horácio Frutuoso presents the work Sozinhx (2018), where on a mat is the word that titles the work. In large bold letters, the work on the gallery floor challenges our assumptions about space and sense of belonging. By painting the word “sozinho” (alone) on a carpet, a domestic object associated with comfort and cosiness, the artist juxtaposes loneliness and comfort, building a sense of tension and ambiguity.

Through works exploring the theme of loneliness and isolation, Quero um dia em que não se espera nada de mim creates a place for reflection and discussion about these experiences. The works invite us to ponder the manifestations of isolation and loneliness in our lives and around us. At the same time, it shows us the ways in which art can contribute to understanding this issue. The exhibition’s title expresses the desire for a day spent without expectations or demands, breaking the pressures of everyday life. Quero um dia em que não se espera nada de mim conveys a feeling that can be reflected in those who feel disconnected or isolated.

The exhibition is part of the Atlas da Solidão programme curated by Marta Rema, and is at Appleton until April 29, 2023.

 

 

 

[1] Ana Grebler in “A Matéria é Soberana de Isabel Cordovil na Uma LuLik__”, available in: https://umbigomagazine.com/pt/blog/2022/12/06/a-materia-e-soberana-de-isabel-cordovil-na-uma-lulik__/

Laurinda Marques (Portimão, 1996) has a degree in Multimedia Art - Audiovisuals from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Universidade de Lisboa. She did an internship in the Lisbon Municipal Archive Video Library, where she collaborated with the project TRAÇA in the digitization of family videos in film format. She recently finished her postgraduate degree in Art Curatorship at NOVA/FCSH, where she was part of the collective of curators responsible for the exhibition “Na margem da paisagem vem o mundo” and began collaborating with the Umbigo magazine.

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