Lisbon: 4 amazing film and new media art exhibitions
By Henrique Menezes
The possibility of capturing images of the real have always enchanted us. The action of light generated fetish artifacts, since the origin of photography, in the evolution of the cinema or in the popularization of video from the 1970s onwards. Visual artists exploring this language have developed and multiplied over the decades, confirming the vocation of this medium for experimentation and artistic innovation. Today, the interactivity of the new media is added to cinema and video, creating unique and plural artistic perspectives.
Lisbon has now four exhibition you need to visit. They are multiple expressions of the technology in the contemporary arts. Mixing performances, installations, projections, modern software, all works problematize issues that characterize contemporary culture with a single language: moving image.
Taking a Stuart Hall’s essay as its point of departure, “The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding” explores how meaning is constructed and can become distorted and detached from its original intent. Five installations cull from image and audio archives in order to reflect upon recent socio-political events: they suggest that multiple and alternative perspectives are integral to understanding these moments in history as their accounts are too often moulded by dominant narratives. This exhibition is organized by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, in partnership with Autograph ABP, co-curated by Gaëtane Verna.
John Akomfrah proposes an outstanding exercise of expanded perception. His work presents the integration of multimedia fragments, leading to the rethinking of complicities web among all elements called into the process. Steve McQueen, Terry Adkins, Sven Augustijnen, Shelagh Keeley, and Zineb Sedira also present political and powerful works: visiting “The Unfinished Conversation” is a punch.
The newest individual of Hugo Canoilas, Portuguese artist based in Vienna, Austria, is a deep immersion on notions of space, time and reception implicit in contemporary experience. Under the Volcano articulates considerations on sound, painting, text, video, performance and photography and the ways these operate to empower the spectator as a critical agent.
Avoiding any label, the best way to understand his work is as a project. The power of this term - in the assumption used by Helio Oiticica in the 1960s - is the intention that the ideal is something “to become concrete”, where the spectator “experience the experimental”. In a moment when world art tends to aseptic, full of theoretical layers, Canoilas presents a synesthetic proposal. A suprasensorial exhibition. His visual grammar is made for amusement, with a dense structural and discursive background.
“Temps d’Images Festival” reaches its 14th edition reaffirming a solid program that values artistic experimentation and innovation. Events propose the intersection of disciplines, different media, contexts, creators, programmers and audiences, to explore the movements intrinsic to the practices and multiple expressions of the contemporary arts. Lisbon is territorially dominated by art: 14 spaces, 23 artists and collectives, offering spectacles, video-installations, cinema and meetings with artists.
Due to curatorial quality, listing or staging highlights becomes an arduous task. Luciana Fina’s “Chant Portraits” is a sensitive and delicate immersion on the self. Three faces, a long time of exposure, a space saturated with image-time. In the beginning it is only frontality, the extension of the gaze in a long time of exposure, between the time of a song and the time of a portrait. Another powerful work is “Capture Practice”, presented by internationally-acclaimed choreographer Arkadi Zaides. Through the use of documentary footage, the artist focus on the Israeli-Palestine conflict to reveal different discourses of human rights.
Lastly, the collective exhibition “Unspoken Dialogues” is part of “Post-Screen: International Festival of Art, New Media and Cybercultures”. A vast program discusses multiple perspectives regarding the way our visual culture is affected by the use of screens in our everyday lives, whether in domestic or public spaces, and the way the use of new technologies are set as a tool for artistic practices. Each artwork presented in “Unspoken Dialogues” brings art to life - as art history tried to many times. Atif Akin plays with forces: war, power, rights, privacy, culture and language are mixed to highlight how contemporaneity is shaped and metamorphosed by technological vigilance.
The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding
Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, Sven Augustijnen, Steve McQueen, Shelagh Keeley, and Zineb Sedira.
Location: Museu Coleção Berardo - Praça do Império - Lisbon
Under the Volcano - Hugo Canoilas
Location: Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea - Rua Serpa Pinto, 4 - Lisbon
Temps d’Images Lisboa 2016 - 14o Festival de artes em movimento
Clare Strand, Gary Hill, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Abelardo Gil-Fournier, Abraham Avnisan, Atif Akin, TeYosh.
Location: Galeria Millennium - Rua Augusta, 96 - Lisbon