Exhibition : Photographs 1980/2002
|March 10 - April 28, 2007
|Manuela Marques’photographs are anything but snapshots : the minute reconstructions of intimate or introspective moments when there is someone, portraits or bodies moving in space ; or the long awaited merging into nature, places, a certain kind of light. Manuel Marques’work is not plentiful but sedimentary. That is why her images are special and intense, making the matter of things become that of the photographs through the rendering of the density of the air in half-light, or the weight of objects or bodies subjected to gravity, or the emotion emanating from a decorative object - what is left of a desire for adventure in the conventional shapes of pieces of china.
Each image is unique and their limited number is combined with the search for something in between. Doing so, Manuela Marques’works tend towards latent events, whereas other photographers use the event itself. They come just before or after, like a wave beginning to form or ebbing to the sea after breaking. Manuela Marques’photographs are a carefully built wall inside the limits of the visible world - they insist on a latent future as well as on the embryos of this latency. Thus there is no caption or clue as to where the shots were taken, so that the viewer is a party to the maieutics of the advent.
In the progress from experience to the image, the artist works with some words in mind. While she centres, composes, develops carefully, the words act as an invisible structure. Situation. Waits. Half opened. Top-sided. Suspension. These words are nearly performative, like those of a choreographer who articulates bodies and their movements in a given context.
For her third exhibition in Gallery Anne Barrault, Manuela Marques has chosen a set of images made of tension and inversion : from one moment to another, from the frame to beyond the frame, from gravity to weightlessness, from the future to evolution, from projection to virtuality. Fascinated by Freud’s text about Gradiva* ( an Italian fresco showing a young woman moving with a veil floating around her body) the artist unwinds a sub-text : in Portuguese, her mother tongue, to be pregnant is said “grávida”, the anagram of “Gradiva”.The word has kept a link with the word gravity. The image of a pregnant woman gives birth to links with other images : childbirth is reproduction, reproduction is also the passage of the object to its own image through light, that is to say weightless matter.
Other links appear too in connection with the reflection of the image, thanks to mirrors, light, strangely reflecting surfaces. In a word, all that is the image alchemy : a blind mirror in which the image is as if swallowed up; false silky hair bathing in light but lifeless , like tentacles lying there; the shadow of chairs lined up in the right corner of the image preying on this stopped lifeless movement, the end of the play ( or ready to go on?).
The artist , cleverly, leads the viewer into a certain consciousness of his emotions in front of built up images, relying on uncertain feelings due to the ambiguity of the images (end or beginning, dance or twitch, dawn or twilight?) to establish some distance. We are helpless, as if these photographs represented the loss of what we were expecting. The mirrors do not reflect anything, noone sits on the chairs, the objects are lively whereas people are lifeless. Reversing the space-time continuum, a circular life suffuses the photographs which take on many meanings, symbols and their future developments.
Joana Neves, Paris, December 2006
*Delusions and dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva. S.Freud