Untitled, 2008 Inkjet, Premium Semi Matte Photo Paper. 102.5 x 140 cm. Edition of 3 plus1 A.P.
Life in a Bush of Ghosts presents a new body of Rui Calçada Bastos' work since his last solo exhibition at Galerie Invaliden1 in 2006. The exhibition mirrors the title of the 1981 album 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts' by Brian Eno and David Byrne. Excluding the pronoun 'my', Life in a Bush of Ghosts marks a point of departure from Bastos' previously self-referential approach.
Comprising a combination of large format photographs, and a video, the collection encapsulates Rui Calçada Bastos¿ longstanding interest in urbanism and his artistic experimentations with the global city as an itinerant space; a placeless studio. Unfolding to the beat of transient time, the works feature unexpected occurrences, myriad objects, materials and quirky scenarios arising in everyday city life. The nature of cities as pervasive spaces of constant economic and social expansion is referred to by Bastos, who attempts to chronicle moments of contradiction enacted within the contesting spaces of urban jungles; the urban bush.
He juxtaposes scenes of movement with stillness, casting a slow lens over the transformations articulated by seemingly quiet and insignificant events that often go unnoticed in the speed driven city. No explicit attention is drawn to human activity, although the surfaces and objects which come into focus subtly enact the presences and absences of city dwellers. Lost or discarded articles, exposed floors or walls, misaligned bricks or unfinished concrete surfaces seem to find new life almost coincidentally as visceral, sculptural objects. They evoke contrasting, poetic auras that allude to unknown pasts, serving not only as memory fragments as well as interrupted narratives, but as a question after present and future functions.
Life in a Bush of Ghosts is an invitation to consider how the cities in which we live become never-ending propositions of how we restructure not only our observable worlds, but our interior perspectives and inner narratives. While the works convey the pluralities of city environments, at once dynamic and generic, they resonate with a haunting sense of quietude. That change is the only constant in life might be a given ¿ even a cliché. Yet, Rui Calçada Bastos continues to confront the ghosts of what may have once been, is now and will be. This peripatetic, even romantic impulse belongs to both urbanites and travelers alike.