Daniel Malhão is at the same time a photographer for architects and visual artists and an artist himself. When he gets those orders for which photography serves a specific purpose, Daniel Malhão discovers blind images, blank screens, potential photographs which assail the onlooker and the photographer himself with the wish to be visible. Wavering between “beautiful images” and their making of, Daniel Malhão’s work shows us the visible world and the limits of the visibility of the world, the image which is produced and the studio.
Daniel Malhão’s first works twisted Ruffian references by combining heaviness with illusory lightness in the same image : slightly puffed up faces (actually, those of people balancing on their hands), images of the photographer with a heavy stone stuck on his face floating in the air as if by magic. Apparently, he wanted to separate the laws of the material world of the photograph from those of the viewer’s, without really wishing to draw up a fixed limit. All his photographic and video production is steeped in this hesitation between the object of photography and what we detect in it. As a matter of fact, the photograph continually hesitates between its being a material thing and its being able to reproduce the material world without keeping its physical laws. It is so with the series “Dust” in which myriads of specks of dust reflect infinitesimal matter as light, or blank screens found in building sites which seem to be waiting for images.
Daniel Malhão’s work objectivizes and twists the codes of perception and of the wish to see. The machine - the projector, the lambda printer- plays an important part in its being the matrix of the image : it genrates it but can be its object too. This reversal is operated thanks to the sequence of “Lambda Printer” images shown here. They are the photographs of the top side of each of the panels which make up the printer of lambda prints. Hence a slight fiction about origins; we like to think that the images which show the grey sides of the machine with commercial inscriptions and the user’s guide have produced the very images we are looking at. There happens a separation between the machine which catches the image and that which makes it, between the eye which chooses through the lens and the computer which processes the result. The time necessary for the image to be ready is the time of the change from one state to the other, an invible change revealed by this inversion.
Daniel Malhão acts against the machine copying reality and doing so, he suggests that the origin of the image is the image itself which is to be read and takes us through the space/time of two-dimensional things.
And we have something else at work with Daniel Malhão : latent monochrome and the influence of painting in the making of the image. The quest for making colors uniform superposes the technical materiality of the colored surface, which gives form to the image, on that of the photograph. It is emphasized by this tendency to monochrome, so that photography and painting meet to try and make the mental image and the real image come together.