“Photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks.”
1. The mass popularisation of photography and of the taking of photographs has drastically reduced our chances of being aware, camera in hand and ready to snap, of the truly telling moment. Or, looking at it in another way, telling moments have become so utterly commonplace that only genuinely exceptional circumstances can reveal them.
So we need to bend new criteria to our assessment of photography; criteria that we must reinvent. And we find ourselves seesawing between a few iconic photographs, the ones that keep tabs on our lives, and a jumbled multitude of other images that, despite everything, are just there throughout our normal everyday lives, even when they no longer portray our gaze rationally, morphing, instead, into representations of our emotions and hallucinations.
2. How far can we draw out this gaze of ours? To what extent can we sketch the actual boundaries of a specific time, when there is no contextualised “before” and no presaged “after”. Will we have free rein to transform this gaze into a wandering image; one that has no past and, even worse, no memory but, despite this, is somehow of significance?
3. This exhibition has been shaped in the crucible of such reflections.
It is a collection of simple clips, some incidental, snapped in the real world and consciously reproduced in black and white, sometimes charged. They avoid the distraction of colour and the pressure of any form of modernness, encapsulated in our need to focus on the essential in the gaze.
“Between Gaze and Hallucination” is the result of an exercise in fixing the fragments that lie within the reach of all; fragments that are left open to interpretation; fragments that are interwoven, with the detachment that is the assumed privilege of the free.
Macau, February 23, 2017
João Miguel Barros