Alexandra do Carmo. Emancipation and resistance: suburban allotments, spontaneous and “clandestine”
Text by Bruno Marques
Untitled (drawing series for Document #2 – Occupy)
Starting off with the wish to liberate cinema from its physical apparatus, present in André Bazin and in Sergei Eisenstein, Alexandra do Carmo puts through a “dematerialisation” of film (dematerializes film), transposing its language - the specific prerogatives defined by the medium’s ontology - to drawing. Availing oneself of such an “old” form of expression could herein very well be taken as resorting to a useful editing tool, akin to a storyboard, utilised as means to means to foresee a film. However, the opposite takes place. In Alexandra do Carmo’s work, the finished film finds itself converted into matter redrawn, reassembled and reinterpreted in the studio.
Screen and drawing fuse as thought and, in this sense, whilst revealing the very editing process, the drawings act as though they were “echoes” of the films the artist has been producing. In somewhat like dispersed “frames” taken out of a broader context, empty-eyed faces are to be found so that the viewer there sees the possibility of an imagined film. Incorporating the rudiments of silent film editing, different characters come on and off screen, so to establish dialogues, synchronised with subtitles, which invariably reproduces fragments of storytelling that the videographic work captured as “fieldwork”. Yet opposing the accelerated cinematic registry of an unstoppable and continuous flux, Alexandra do Carmo´s drawings aim to translate a slower time of making and seeing. Her work implies an auto-reflexive and slow “interpretation” of particular contents, homologous to the difference between a city’s fast pace and a much slower tempo of an allotment.
Document #1 – The Green Studio at IC19, Document #2 – Occupy, Document #3 – Colonial Bean
In the three films shown, Alexandra do Carmo´s examines the sociopolitical dimensions of the clandestine allotments populating the margins of the IC19 - Radial de Sintra, built with much perseverance and resilience by urban farmers, mostly africans from the Portuguese ex-colonies, or by local folks who are historically connected to old rural communities. But whilst Gustave Courbet - whom she pays reference to through describing that which became the French painter’s most ambitious work, L’Atelier du peintre, allégorie réelle déterminant une phase de sept années de ma vie artistique, 1855 -, still placed within a representation paradigm, metaphorically brings into the creation space both the social environment and all those who influenced him in his “action”, Alexandra do Carmo literally installs her own studio amidst people she fortuitously finds within the interstices of a suburban world; standing amongst those most to the “margins” so to have their voices heard.
The widespread of spontaneous urban allotments doubtlessly configures a practice, which has been both ingraining itself and becoming a bespoke alternative to food production, whilst it simultaneously creates new forms of social interaction as it further affirms itself as a lifestyle. Conceivably claiming the reinvention of the everyday, thenceforward with a considerably wider ecological consciousness, the contemporary phenomenon of urban allotments definitely parts from the strictly defined domestic fields as well as from those to do with individual freedoms, thus becoming a decisive object, core to debates on the transformation of the polis - the city as “public matter”. It modifies common life styles and deeming viable alternatives other to the paradigm (presently at profound crisis), tightly connected to the late-capitalist dispositif; promoter of savage privatisation and speculation of territory, of hyper-industrialisation, of urban landscape development and of unrestrained consumption.
The various succeeding reports on the physical and psychological damages resulting from the destruction of people’s plots denounce systematic incongruences: the police assumes their inability to prohibit agricultural practice, even though consecutive “cleansing” operations on behalf of city councils have been taken ahead. As a matter of fact, the Lisbon’s Municipal Masterplan allows the occupation of territory for cultivation, however, the absence of specific laws adequate to the present case, further engrossed by the seemingly permissible yet aleatoric stance local authorities hold, brings the whole situation to a blind, autocratic and violent regulation. And so, there emerges the inevitable argument favouring the “marginal” and the “subaltern”, against economic discrimination, territorial segregation and all other forms of denomination, typical from contemporary cooperative colonialism.
Instead of collecting the benefits of their existence in our present time, the unauthorised allotments remain no more than feeble hiatuses, sprouting from decades of deficient territorial planning, so far unable to attend to the city’s peripheral spaces. For they are temporary, they live in a limbo of postponed urbanisation, solely tolerated for as long as, against them, an “urbanistic” solution awaits being found. Rather than understood as permanent communal assets, yet no more than “non-places”, these pend from local political decisions, not seldom materialised in the form of enormous commercial structures, which Continente hypermarkets hold a most imposing symbol of. There stand the plots, yet no one takes a proper glance at them. Some ignore them; others prefer to see them as mere rubbish, analogous to the conditions of the “stalls” or of other forms of precarious housing, invariably held central to social problems, criminality and violence. These suburban allotments, the closest by the roadway, being unlawful plots, resist still under hostilities casted by the traffic, the police and the autarchic power.
Enacted as a denouncement of the strict association between negational othering acts and forms of western colonialism, Alexandra do Carmo jilts the suburban allotments’ state of invisibility. She puts forward that, as spontaneous political phenomena but equally as an action-stance towards and within the environment, these constitute true heterotopic spaces of micro-resistance and of postcolonial emancipation, facing an endemic segregation, resultant from the dictatorship of property and capital. Thenceforth the artist proposes counter-visibility as means to promote a mutual and interested gaze upon the other, herein on “precarious” citizens, marginal and undervalued; a gesture which permits opening up the possibility of integrating them in a shared imagined community, which “I” as much as “They” are whole-rightly part of.
Studio Socialis examines the social representations of the artist's studio and interrogates the physical and operative boundaries that separate or, on the contrary, connect art with other forms of creative and professional activities. Through a methodology of field research that involved conducting a series of interviews with various professionals in their working environments, do Carmo assembles multiple viewpoints from individuals outside the art world, constructing a collective portrayal of the artist's studio. The spatial reference to the studio becomes a device that triggers ideas about the nature of the artist's work in a broader sense and about his/her contribution to society. Do Carmo seeks to detect the opportunities of collaborating with her interviewees by bringing up hypothetical projects with them. In this case, would the interviewees become co-creators of the work? If so, what are the artistic and ethical consequences? And is 'the artist´s studio' a nomadic concept that can be activated in any space appropriated by the artist, whether it is the kitchen of a restaurant, a scientific laboratory or a psychiatrist's office?
These encounters are transformed into two video works, each with their corresponding drawing series: in Document #1 the production spaces of the interviewed persons are presented (laboratory, office, garage et. al.) with the interviewees discussing their ideal artist studio in the audio track (and from which the present donated drawing is derived); in Document #2, the interviewees are themselves shown discussing a possible collaboration with the artist.
Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea
Galeria | Exposições | Feiras | Imprensa
NAS IMEDIAÇÕES DO DESENHO
Alexandra do Carmo
Desenho, vídeo, escultura e instalação
De que modo é que o desenho é uma base de construção incontornável da produção artística que não se esgota no seu suporte quando se estende para outros meios? De que modo é que deriva acontece preservando a autonomia e identidade do desenho? Como se debatem questões inerentes ao desenho através de outros suportes? Nas imediações do desenho mostra como a linha pode assumir características específicas de transgressão para outros meios através de um núcleo de artistas que entendem o desenho como ponto estratégico fundamental para o desenvolvimento dos seus trabalhos. Parte destes compreende que a incursão para outros suportes é uma forma de perceber e analisar princípios presentes no desenho. Noutros este meio envolve-se num outro processo para voltar à forma bidimensional já com outra condição. Comum a todos, é a consciência de que o desenho permanece, seja ele apresentado através do papel, da imagem ou da matéria. É nestes termos que utilizam outras práticas para pensar este suporte enquanto processo autónomo e com identidade própria. Mais
Why is drawing an essential part of the construction of artistic production? How drawing extends to other media? How does that extending happens preserving the autonomy and identity of the drawing? How does artists think about drawing issues using other media ? Nas imediações do desenho/ surrounding drawing shows a group of artists who understand drawing as a strategic point to the development of their work . Part of these artists think that exploring other media is a way to perceive and analyze questions about drawing. Others explore other processes to return to the two-dimensional and in that case drawing is shown with another condition. Common to all is the awareness that drawing is everywhere, whether submitted through the paper, image or matter. Therefore these artists use other practices to consider this medium as a separate process with its own identity.
EXCERPT FROM CATARINA ROSENDO'S REPRESENTATIONS OF A COMMUNITY OF EXPERIENCE, (catalogue text) "a sound recording of statements collected by Alexandra do Carmo from the creators and spectators of the activities that took place at Quadrum under the direction of Dulce d' Agro, that can be listened to in the small hall preceding the Gallery's old deposit space, now transformed into a living room for the presentation". "The statements can only be heard through headphones installed in the backroom set aside for the purpose. The statements record the impressions of several people about works, performances or other events that took place at Quadrum, especially over the 1970s and 1980s. Different perceptive experiences stand out from what we are given to hear. For example, the visual quality of some of the descriptions: [...] She finished by pressing rose thorns into her arm, delineating a line so to speak which went from her shoulder, or practically her shoulder, down to her wrist." Or the reactions of the public: [...] suddenly the audience became really tense [...]; [...] it was all recorded, the way people looked, the questioning, the way they talked about what they were seeing [...]". Or the sensation of something new: [...] It was an installation, and I didnt know anything about that then"; [...] Finally seeing a big painting... It was one of the first times that I had seen my fellow Portuguese artists produce paintings of the size I had seen abroad". Or the awareness of the body as measure of comparison: [...] created an abstract pattern in space, which was about an arms length higher than the viewers eye level, and the same again below and a generous arm span in width. So when you were in front of it you basically felt like you were part of it". Several of the statements are expressive and descriptive and, when editing the audio material, Alexandra do Carmo tried to make the different voices follow on from each other in a cadence of small narratives separated by silences long enough for each to remain separate from the next yet, at the same time, to be interconnected through the visual thread and the sensations that they describe".
O trabalho agora apresentado, “Tudo foi captado (mesmo os movimentos do cabrito)” é constituído por duas partes interligadas: uma instalação sonora, que regista uma recolha de memórias orais das exposições e acontecimentos que tiveram ligar na Galeria Quadrum entre 1973 e 1995 e das quais se retêm, hoje, as manifestações mais experimentais e performativas, dando origem a depoimentos onde o choque, a derrisão, a surpresa e a novidade estão bastante presentes; e uma sequência de trinta desenhos onde, a par da impressão de excertos das memórias recolhidas, se produzem representações visuais de ideias e objectos mencionados nos depoimentos que se abrem ao diálogo com o público de hoje.
Alexandra do Carmo prossegue, nesta obra, processos e meios usados anteriormente, nomeadamente uma investigação de campo de carácter documental e uma prática de desenho intensa e serial. As formas como o espectador recebe as práticas artísticas, o modo de dar legibilidade pública às pesquisas conduzidas pelos artistas durante as fases de pesquisa e ensaio como vista a potenciar o carácter comunicativo das suas intervenções são outras das preocupações da artista também presentes neste trabalho, caracterizado pelo diálogo ou confronto entre dois tipos de público, o de antes (que fez parte das actividades da Quadrum antiga) e o de hoje, que visita a sua exposição.
Um livro/catálogo, com ensaio de Catarina Rosendo, tem data prevista de lançamento para o dia da inauguração da exposição, 24 de Setembro.
Artists:Alexandra do CARMO, Alyse EMDUR, Ana FONSECA, Bernardo OYARZÚN, Bettina Camila VESTERGAARD, Brian CASSIDY, Carlos NORONHA FEIO, Cristina REGADAS, Daniel BARROCA, David ETXEBERRIA, Eduardo MATOS, Emily ROYSDON, Gina OSTERLOH, Graciela FUENTES, Hugo PAQUETE, Ingrid WILDI MERINO, Jeffrey WELLS, Jesse GREEN, João BAETA, John HAWKE, José Carlos TEIXEIRA, Josh WEINSTEIN, Joshua CALLAGHAN, Julie LEQUIN, Julie ORSER, Kim SCHOEN, Lindsay LAWSON, Lori SCHINDLER, ±MAISMENOS±, Manuel Santos MAIA, Margarida PAIVA, Martinha MAIA, Melanie SHATZKY, Michelle DIZON, Mónica de MIRANDA, Paulo MENDES, Pedro DINIZ REIS, Rita Castro NEVES, Rodrigo VILHENA, Rui INÁCIO, Rui MOURÃO, Sarah FITZSIMONS, Sofia BARREIRA, Sofia PONTE, Susana ANÁGUA, Sylvie BOISSEAU + Frank WESTERMEYER, Tiago PEREIRA, Tiny DOMINGOS, Valére CHANCEAULME, Virginia MOTA.
The screening series BETWEEN DOCUMENT AND FICTION examines contemporary strategies in film and video, within the realm of visual arts.
“The distinction between fact and fiction has become thin and at a times blurred, in part because artists have broken into the realm of documentary photography and film alongside journalists, and filmmakers. (…) By exploring limits and crossovers, artists are analyzing and questioning the effect of the documentary image, turning it inside out and adapting it for personal, artistic and social aims” (in Documentary Now!, reflect #04, Nai Publishers, Netherlands).
This 3-day event was conceived under three main aspects.
Firstly, the project’s main theme is related to a personal and artistic discourse, practice, and interest of mine in the intersections/ambiguities of concepts such as reality and fiction.
Second, it is centered around the multiple encounters and affinities with other artists, video and filmmakers with whom I interacted throughout the past years, and whose work has impressed me for its quality and strength.
Finally, and following the second one, a third factor is of absolute relevance. It refers to the possibility of enunciating a discourse that dissociates itself from nationalisms or artistic identities based on specific geographies. Although the context might actually determine its cultural production (and this one might substantially transform the former), at this screening and topic it is important to shed some light on meeting points and trans-local, trans-national, and trans-continental dialogues.
As such, artists and filmmakers from the USA (New York, Los Angeles) and Canada, South America (Brazil, Chile), Europe (France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark), and specifically from Portugal (Lisbon, Porto, and/or living elsewhere, like Amsterdam or London) shape the event as a wide open forum. A platform where diverse voices rely on the common premise of dealing with imagery, ideas and concepts that either come from a documental approach into a more personal dimension, or from an initial poetic realm into a point of view anchored on the apprehension of the real.
As theorist and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-Ha would say: “a good film is that one which is able to document its actual process of making, and a good documentary is that one which is aware of its own fictional aspect and shows it.”
José Carlos Teixeira
The Wall Street Journal
Latest Additions to IMMA's Permanent Collection Provoke Thought
Dublin: The Irish Museum of Modern Art is for the first time exhibiting 45 works collected since 2005 as part of its permanent collection. "Collecting the New" focuses mainly on living artists' works with a look at perception versus reality.
In one, a 35mm DVD installation entitled "Robert Towne" (2006), the legendary American screenwriter discusses his part in the creation of hit films such as "Chinatown" and "Shampoo." Awkwardly edited, Mr. Towne's talking head is boldly projected onto the wall of a darkened gallery. Created by British-American artist Sarah Morris, the work's documentary style plays with the pretenses of cinema.
William McKeown's "Hope Painting (Going Through the Looking Glass)" (2005) conjures up a peaceful harmony with its soothing creamy beige oil paint spread over the square canvas's center, with dark-brown fraying at the edges.
Devotees of Patrick Hall will be pleased to see 11 of the artist's works on display, including his striking ink, watercolor and pastel "Sprinkle Ochre into my Eyes" (2004); two eyes peep over a wall while particles of yellow ochre color fall into them.
Meanwhile, Samuel Beckett inspires the most intriguing work. In Alexandra do Carmo's "A Willow (Or Without Godot)" (2006), iPods lie next to two mattresses on a bed of stones. The viewer is invited to listen to the upbeat lines of Vladimir and Estragon in "Waiting for Godot."
Weaving through the exhibition's labyrinth of rooms, nothing is quite as it seems in this thought-provoking collection.
Collecting the New: Recent Acquisitions to the IMMA Collection
An exhibition presenting artworks recently acquired for IMMA’s Collection, marking the first occasion that these works have been shown at the Museum as part of that Collection, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 19 May 2010. Collecting the New comprises some 42 works which have, for the most part, been acquired since 2005, through purchase, donation and loans. Twenty-six Irish and international artists are represented, including Amanda Coogan, Patrick Hall, Stefan Kürten, Catherine Lee, Janet Mullarney, Makiko Nakamura, Hughie O’Donoghue, and Susan Tiger. The exhibition reflects the Museum’s acquisition policy that the Collection should be firmly rooted in the present, concentrating on acquiring the work of living artists, but also accepting donations and loans of more historical art objects with a particular emphasis on work from the 1940s onwards.
Recent donations on display range from works on paper by Irish artist Patrick Hall to a painting by English artist Alexis Harding. Patrick Hall’s ink, pastel and watercolour works on paper, such as Sprinkle Ochre into my Eyes, 2004, reflect his lifelong interest in human experience, suggesting a quest for meaning and happiness, fuelled by the twin sources of energy behind his work – mysticism and sexuality. Alexis Harding’s uses modernist devices such as grids, lines and arrows to make paintings which seem to be bound in their own materiality, driven by his exploitation of the incompatibility between artists’ oil paint and household gloss paint. This can be seen in the painting Drifters Escape (Blue oil / Dark blue gloss), 2006, in which the artist’s interest in time as a significant factor in the behavior of a painting is also evident.
Purchases to the Museum’s Collection include an installation by Portuguese artist Alexandra do Carmo and a sculptural work by American sculptor Catherine Lee. Alexandra Do Carmo’s practice investigates the dynamics of authorship and the influence of the audience on the artist and social awareness within art making as a means of generating discussions about the artistic practice. In her installation, A Willow (Or Without Godot), 2006, the public is invited to reflect on positive statements made by the characters of Estragon and Vladimir in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot emphasizing a complicity, dependency and deep affection between the two characters. Do Carmo made and exhibited this work while participating on IMMA’s Artist Residency Programme in 2006. Other Voices, 1993, was purchased after a mini-retrospective of Catherine Lee’s work at IMMA in 2005, and is formed from a series of small polychromatic wall-mounted pieces cast from aluminium, copper, bronze and iron. Lee’s works are a hybrid of painting, sculpture and installation, in which she juxtaposes the simplicity of a repeated form with a richness of materials, such as wax, bronze, glass and fibreglass.
The permanent Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art comprises approximately 2,500 works by 20th-century and contemporary Irish and international artists. It has been developed through purchase and donations, as well as long term loans and the commissioning of new works. The Museum’s acquisition policy, like its exhibition and education and community programmes, reflects the changing cultural landscape of the late 20th-century and the new millennium. The Museum not only buys the work of living artists but also accepts donations of works from the 1940’s onwards – a decade of significant social and cultural change, both in Ireland and worldwide.
This exhibition is co-curated by Johanne Mullan, National Programmer, and Georgie Thompson, Assistant Curator, Collections Department.
Collecting the New continues until 8 August 2010.
Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00am - 5.30pm
except Wednesday: 10.30am - 5.30pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays: 12noon - 5.30pm
For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A5 is a collaboration piece with John Hawke (www.johnhawke.com)
Drawing exhibition at Museu da Presidência da Republica, Lisbon, 5 October 2009
Carlos Carvalho Gallery
Alexandra do Carmo at FORO SUR, Contemporary Art Fair in CÁCERES, Spain
An exhibition curated by Miguel Amado
Works by Olivier Babin, Elena Bajo, Beth Campbell, Alexandra do Carmo, Lotte Lindner & Till Steinbrenner, Mads Lynnerup, Rä di Martino, Isola and Norzi, Marisa Olson, Anna Ostoya, Miguel Palma, Carlos Roque, Antonio Rovaldi, Andrea Schneemeier, Nedko Solakov, Marko Tadić, Brina Thurston, Alex Villar, and Zimmerfrei
Artists’ writings and books by Michael Blum, Elmgreen & Dragset, Liam Gillick, Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Carlos Motta, Michael Rakowitz, Lisi Raskin, Oliver Ressler, and xurban_collective
Artists’ talks by Carlos Motta, Lisi Raskin, and Hakan Topal + Alex Villar
Friday, May 8 – Monday, May 11, 2009
Press preview: Friday, May 8, 5 – 7 PM
Opening reception: Friday, May 8, 7 – 9 PM
The International Studio & Curatorial Program proudly presents the exhibition Financial District, organized by Miguel Amado, curator-in-residence in 2009. Financial District brings together resident artists at ISCP as well New York-based and international artists whose works allegorically respond to, comment on, and conjecture about the relationship between the contemporary global economic climate and the US cultural landscape. Featuring media as diverse as painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video, and performance, as well as artists’ writings, books, and talks, this exhibition provides an exclusive peek into the output of some of the most significant socially-conscious, critically-engaged practitioners of today.
The Financial District marks the urban scenery of all major American cities. However, more than an architectural trait or geographical location, the Financial District stands for an ideology, that of the “new spirit of capitalism,” which has developed over the past few decades and which has been recently questioned in the wake of the financial crisis that emerged last year. Therefore, although affecting all sectors, the existing situation’s consequences expand beyond the field of economy, for example changing production capacities and consumption patterns. This condition is thus altering everyday life in the manner classical sociologists have predicted when they called attention to the process of alienation in capitalist societies.
Financial District addresses these topics in various ways. On view are depictions of street scenes in Brooklyn and American territories; iconographies of the real estate boom and crash; renderings of newspapers’ statistical data and collections of New Yorker’s fears; and representations of America in film, press, or personal diaries. Other works examine the connection between money and time, systems of value, and labor trends. Quotes of Karl Marx, reflections on the market, accounts of material exchange, allusions to gold, comments on Nasdaq and visions of experimental factories evoke theoretical traditions and individual experiences of capital. This exhibition sheds light on the current state of affairs in the world economy and US culture, speculating how both are sides of the same coin.
International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP)
1040 Metropolitan Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11211
LÁ FORA, curated by Jõao Pinharanda
Museu da Electricidade
Av. de Brasilia, Central Tejo
01/16 to 03/15
I Certamen de Dibujo Contemporáneo
PILAR Y ANDRÉS CENTENERA JARABA
Villa de Alovera. Guadalajara. España
at Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea
Sept. 17- Oct. 25, 2008
Rua Joly Braga Santos Lt F- R/C
1600- 123 Lisbon
tel, (+351) 217 261 831