Alexandre Estrela (Lisbon, 1971) belongs to a generation of artists, like Laure Provost, Florian Pumhösl, Rosa Barba and Francisco Tropa, who have explored diverse perceptive, mental and cultural themes of cinematic devices in a museum space. This conversation with João Fernandes presents the works in his exhibition Pockets of Silence, set within the Fisuras (Fissures) programme.
The growing presence of film as the subject matter for analysing exhibition space is in response to the desire to pause the image and create a space of reflection on its physical and mental perception. So-called “exhibition cinema”, with its unstructured language and an endless expanded running time, is strongly linked to two notions that are vital to understanding the contemporary art museum: work in real time and the consideration of the viewer as an active and interpretative subject. Alexandre Estrela operates around these parameters, albeit by adding references and considerations to artistic practice with a pronounced recent history.
Estrela’s intervention in Fisuras involves two installations: Pockets of Silence, a work produced for the Museo, and Life and Customs of Alexander. In the first, which lends its name to the exhibition, the artist takes up an investigation conducted on the war tactic deployed during the Portuguese Colonial War in Angola, involving the transmission of pre-recorded sounds that concealed the silence produced by human presence in the jungle. The second is a palimpsest of images taken from an entomology book, superimposed with sketches of architecture, children’s drawings of spiderwebs and reproductions of Derek Jarman’s garden. Both pieces approach the production of images as events and synesthetic experiences, whilst laying bare the tools of fiction.
Alexandre Estrela. Artist. His work has been displayed in the solo exhibitions Meio concreto (Fundación Serralves, Porto, 2013), Viagem ao meio (ZDB, Lisbon, 2010) and Motion Seekness (Culturgest, Lisbon, 2010). He also works as a lecturer in the Faculty of Fine Arts Lisbon, and regularly develops a programme of experimental film in the independent screening space Oporto, in Lisbon.
João Fernandes. Deputy Director of the Museo Reina Sofía and curator of the exhibition Alexandre Estrela. Pockets of Silence.