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Interruptions and Imperfections - Galeria Fonseca Macedo. 2016


Left: Interruptions and Imperfections #6 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.
Right: Interruptions and Imperfections #1 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.

Interruptions and Imperfections
Galeria Fonseca Macedo. Azores. Portugal
28th January - 12th March 2016

In 2012 Rui Calçada Bastos participated in an exhibition entitled »Unfinished Journeys« at the Oslo Museum of Contemporary Art; the title could as well serve as heading for a substantial part of his oeuvre. A certain nomadic restlessness of both, people and objects is to be found already in Calçada Bastos’s early works such as the 1995 video performance Pausa, it continues in his seminal photo series and films like The Mirror suitcase man (2004) or Events - Life in a Bush of Ghosts (2008) and it reappears again in more recent production.
Objects and people drift through transient, intermediate locations without specific weight or localized identity – streets, squares, bridges, or railway stations. The camera captures the environment in fragmented snippets and denies the viewer a vista or long shot that might serve as orientation. Calçada Bastos avoids the recognizable, obscures his whereabouts and focuses on the movement as such.
Even if the 2014 photo series Interruptions and Imperfections provides an idea about its place of origin through the subtitle (Berlin Series), the images might as well have been taken elsewhere. The set of six equally measured and upright formatted photographs captures deserted sections of road surface, traces the miscellaneous road markings and median strips and thus resumes the subjects of urban flow and nomadic drift.
The imagery is reminiscent of Calçada Bastos’s earlier series Events (2008) which as well portrayed urban movement without depicting people or city transportation, instead focusing on the ghostly character of objects populating the streets, the urban drift of the material world. But whereas Events employs a sculptural strategy, Interruptions and Imperfections is deliberate linear and thus interprets the city landscape as fragments of continues drawing. The lines, mostly doted, differ substantially and range from precise, strict structure and rhythm to lose, aleatory patterns and almost invisible remnants blotted by wear and tear. Disturbances and overlays cased by crossing tram lines and asphalt patches spoil the continuity, however all these interruptions and imperfections can’t destroy the image of an endless linear drawing traversing the streets, unveiled by Calçada Bastos’s photographs.
The artist takes the viewer along on a hike down the roads, eyes facing the ground, following the ever changing lines on the asphalt as if they were hidden traces or a Songline commanding just another unfinished journey.
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Rui Calçada Bastos was born 1971 in Lisbon. He studied photography and fine arts at the Academia das Artes Visuais, Macau, China, the Faculdade de Belas Artes in Porto and the Faculdade de Belas Artes in Lisbon. Among others, he was artist in residence at Projecto Fidalga, São Paulo (2015), Villa Aurora, Los Angeles (2011), Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2003) and Cité International des Arts, Paris (2002). In 2011 he received the First Price at the International Video Festival in Macao. In his artistic practice he focuses on photography, film and installation. Besides his own work, he is a co-founder of the Berlin artist run space Invaliden 1. After living and working in Berlin for over 10 years, he just relocated to his native Lisbon.

Markus Richter, January 2016
[Independent curator & writer with a focus on urbanism & spatial practices, based in Oslo, Norway]

 
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Left: Interruptions and Imperfections #6 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.
Right: Interruptions and Imperfections #1 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.

Interruptions and Imperfections
Galeria Fonseca Macedo. Açores. Portugal
28 Janeiro - 12 Março 2016

Em 2012, Rui Calçada Bastos participou numa exposição no Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Oslo intitulada «Unfinished Journeys» [Viagens Intermináveis] - um título que poderia servir igualmente para denominar uma parte substancial da sua obra. Podemos encontrar já nos primeiros trabalhos de Calçada Bastos, como na vídeo performance Pausa, de 1995, uma certa inquietude itinerante que atinge tanto as pessoas como os objetos; a mesma errância inquieta manifesta-se nas suas séries seminais de fotografia e trabalhos fílmicos, como The Mirror Suitcase Man [O homem da mala de espelhos] (2004) ou Events - Life in a Bush of Ghosts [Eventos – a vida num bosque de fantasmas (2008), e reaparece de novo na produção mais recente.

Objetos e pessoas deambulam por locais incaracterísticos e provisórios, sem densidade específica ou identidade territorial – ruas, praças, pontes, estações ferroviárias. A câmara capta o ambiente em pequenos fragmentos descontínuos e nega aos observadores um plano geral que lhes possa servir de orientação. Calçada Bastos evita o reconhecível, obscurece a identificação do seu paradeiro e evidencia o movimento enquanto tal.

Mesmo que a série fotográfica de 2014 Interrupções e Imperfeições ofereça no subtítulo um sinal de localização - Berlin Series – as imagens poderiam ter sido tiradas em qualquer outro lugar. As seis fotografias, de dimensões iguais e formato vertical, exibem segmentos desertos do pavimento de uma estrada, recolhem a miscelânea de marcas rodoviárias e de faixas centrais, regressando, assim, aos temas do fluxo urbano e da itinerância nómada.

A imagética recorda a série Eventos (2008), igualmente voltada para a representação do movimento urbano, sem se fixar no retrato de pessoas ou de transportes citadinos, de modo a se ocupar, em vez disso, do caráter espectral dos objetos que povoam as ruas, da deriva urbana do mundo material. Mas enquanto Eventos adota uma estratégia escultórica, Interrupções e Imperfeições é intencionalmente linear para melhor interpretar a paisagem da cidade enquanto sistema fragmentário de um desenho. As linhas, na maioria pontilhadas, divergem muito e apresentam uma grande variedade de estruturas e ritmos, desde os mais estáveis e rígidos aos mais soltos e aleatórios, incluindo os padrões quase invisíveis do desgaste manchado. Apesar de a continuidade ser perturbada pelo emaranhado e sobreposição de linhas de elétrico e de segmentos de asfalto, todas estas interrupções e imperfeições revelam-se incapazes de destruir a imagem que sobressai das fotografias de Calçada Bastos: a de um desenho linear percorrendo sem fim as ruas da cidade.

O artista conduz o observador pelas estradas, olhos postos no chão, seguindo as linhas instáveis do asfalto como se nelas permanecessem os marcos visuais e sonoros de um chamamento ancestral convidando à partida para mais uma viagem interminável.

Markus Richter

Tradução: Leonor Sampaio da Silva (CHAM-A/Universidade dos Açores)

 
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Left: Interruptions and Imperfections #6 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.
Center: Interruptions and Imperfections #1 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.
Right:Interruptions and Imperfections #3 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.

 
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Interruptions and Imperfections #5 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.

 
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Left: Interruptions and Imperfections #4 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.
Center: Interruptions and Imperfections #6 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.
Right: Interruptions and Imperfections #1 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.

 
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Interruptions and Imperfections #2 (Berlin Series). 2013. Inkjet, Semi Matte Photo Paper. 165 x 110 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 A.P.