“Photography in Art, connections and ambiguities... open study since the conceptual adventure! In the year of the uproar between the New York Times and Edgar Martins or the controversy Paulo Nozolino / Artes&Leilões, this reflection couldn’t be timelier!”
This is the closing statement of the text presenting the exhibition by Jorge Cardoso... we are caught literally face to face with the first image, a portrait of rare beauty (could she be the Lolita mentioned in the title of this show); but we start suspecting that may not be what the artist wants to point out: in fact, over this big panel, that we notice is textured aluminum, there are acrylic boards printed with apparently photographic images or, in other cases, mere geometric shapes.
Then we notice the nuts and bolts that provide the three-dimensional character of the ensemble as well as a dash of roughness with obvious humorous intents.
The large base panel leads us to the old black and white photography using film, although it is made of a non-existing material at that time; the hovering acrylic plates superimpose other images that alter the reality of the original photograph; in this first work, the boards are one black and another white and the letters S and N coexist with the numbers 1 and 0.
The references to digital technology are clear, and we realize the meaning of the clues the artist has scattered so far: the L sown to each curtain on the walls is the L of LAYERS that is part of the title and also the name of the most famous tool of the software program named Photoshop: what it does is create layers of images that are put over the basic image altering it.
Jorge Cardoso’s investigations deal with the interactions between photography and art and therefore he starts by raising questions regarding photography’s own evolution.
The title denounces: "lying layers" and here it’s a synonym of untrue while the other "lying" refers to the reclining Lolita on the sofa.
But the wordplay continues: all the works presented here have some words painted in bright orange over the aluminum: "mão não mente sim"... (hand no mind yes) but sometimes the last word escapes or is displayed in another direction and so we have mão não mente (hand doesn’t lie*)… the conceptual versus manual (craftsmanship) debate is therefore summoned.
Even more so since here we have the conceptual paradigm (the end of photography as an assurance of truth) explained with matter (the aluminum bases and the misleading acrylic layers).
It is inevitable to remember the title of the book by Walter Benjamin who back in 1936 already worried about “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.
Other questions are inherent to the choices made for the prints in the acrylic boards: some images are ambiguous and suggest the return to abstractionism in photography.
The subject of reappropriation is also presented with irony: the artist reappropriates images that are his own but photographed many years before and with other purposes… thus reappropriation here is not about authorship but in terms of time and decontextualization.
And, last but not least, sound: this is one more surprise within this exhibition and , in a non too intrusive manner, we listen to the chorus “c’est kool” – and this word is sung with an exaggerated French accent that gives another note of humor, something we start associating with Jorge Cardoso – and also a machinelike voiceover that repeats nonstop certain words… among them the infamous name of the before mentioned software program!
This exhibition is part of the new stage of the VANTAG GALLERY now dealing with the different facets of art that uses photography and that gathered a group of artists in the COLECTIVO VANTAG.
There will be shows in several cities in Portugal before going abroad in 2011.
* In Portuguese mente means mind (as a noun) but also lie (as a verb)
GALERIA da LOJA de TURISMO de VALENÇA
20 DE AGOSTO a 23 SETEMBRO 2010
9H30-12H30 e 14h-18h
2ª a Sábado