Critics’ Picks

A photograph for a video and a video for a photograph, 2006, C-print and digital video. Installation view.

A photograph for a video and a video for a photograph, 2006, C-print and digital video. Installation view.

Lisbon

Rui Calçada Bastos

Galeria Vera Cortês
Rua João Saraiva 16 1º (Alvalade)
July 24, 2013–January 6, 2007

Rui Calçada Bastos’s practice frequently involves biographical elements, ranging from personal relationships to emotional states associated with people, places, and objects encountered by the artist. In his videos, photographs, and sculptures, he develops poetic narratives that offer a melancholic vision of the world. In “Avalon,” his first solo show at this gallery, seven recent works (all from 2006) illustrate his concerns. For instance, in A photograph for a video and a video for a photograph, a photograph of a girl standing next to a suitcase in a parking lot is juxtaposed with a small screen displaying a short video sequence of an airplane taking off. In an uncanny atmosphere moodily lit by sunrise, a deep psychological rendering of the character emerges. Another symbolically resonant piece is Walkabout, a two-channel projection showing a man and a woman with their heads covered by parka hoods wandering, respectively, around Berlin and Inverness, Scotland; the projections switch occasionally, and the dualism of the urban/countryside landscapes is used to mine the characters' distinct personalities. This theme is further developed in I am, an installation occupying two rooms, one of which comprises two hoods facing each other and emitting whispering voices. Nearby, a pair of keys hangs from a blue wall, and on another blue wall is written the sentence I AM AFRAID OF NOT BEING ALIVE. As the exhibition’s title suggests, Calçada Bastos uses allegory—mixing reality and fiction, and playing with memory—to lyrically examine the human condition.