I Don’t Trust Myself When I’m Sleeping II

CREDITS:
Exhibition views at Balcony Contemporary Art Gallery 2020, Lisbon.
Documentation © Bruno lopes
 

I Don't Trust Myself When I'm Sleeping II

Intervention and gold leaf (22K) on color photographs; variable dimensions.
2018 – 2020

The project “I don’t trust myself when I’m sleeping”, currently with two parts, gives continuity to the artist’s enquiries about the places of memory and photography in the construction of identity narratives.
The project appears initially as a response to a concrete problem. In 2018, the artist was in residence in Berlin and suffered from a crisis of insomnia, which resulted in tiredness, lack of concentration, and galloping anxiety. Regardless of its causes and whether it is a private matter, insomnia as a problem has a political dimension.
Sleep not only enables the body to recover from the wear and tear suffered during waking, but it also contributes powerfully to the formation and consolidation of memory. It also seems to be important for the mental processes underlying intuition and creativity. But, as Jonathan Crary tells us, this fundamental activity of human life, which should occupy at least a third of our time, is under direct attack by late capitalism. Although it has not yet been fully integrated by it, sleep is nevertheless very fragile, and our life is inscribed, in general, in a duration without intervals, defined by the possibility of continuous functioning.
Paradoxically, the artist seems to fall into this trap. Pressed by the need to present results, the artist decides to make the moments of her insomnia productive, contrary to Crary’s idea that sleep is the last instance of resistance to the voracity of inevitable productivity. But she does it according to her rules. Thus, the insomniac artist summons to her work, albeit in a veiled way, the themes and subjects that prevent her from sleeping. Using photographs from family albums found, as is already customary in her practice, the artist finds in them the ideal support to mould the images and characters of her personal history, images that cross the barriers of sleep and wakefulness, experience and memory. In addition to the usual affection with which Carla Cabanas treats the anonymous photographs that she uses in her work, this time she also introduces irony and satire, in the way she stripes and obliterates parts of the original image, populating them with new characters and new senses.

The second part of this project, “I don’t trust myself when I’m sleeping II”, was carried out in 2020. In this series, in addition to scratching the images with the scalpel, Cabanas experiments with gold leaf, inspired by the Japanese restoration technique Kintsugi, about which she acquired practical knowledge in 2017. Kintsugi is a century-old method of ceramic repair, which consists of gluing the broken piece with Urushi natural lacquer and covering the cracks resulting from the gluing with gold. The aim, in making these cracks evident, is to give value to faults and physical changes in objects, caused by time or accidents. In a society obsessed with hiding its weaknesses and fixing a perfect image of itself, even if erroneous, the artist directs her focus to the opposite, summoning the difficult moments of her life as inspiration. As if, by applying gold to her torn drawings, she is softening her ghosts, accepting and even valuing their vulnerabilities and wounds.

CREDITS:
Exhibition views at Balcony Contemporary Art Gallery 2020, Lisbon.
Documentation © Bruno lopes
 

I Don’t Trust Myself When I’m Sleeping

I Don't Trust Myself When I'm Sleeping

Ink on glass, light installation, photographic album, color photographs; variable dimensions.
2018 – 2019

The project “I don’t trust myself when I’m sleeping”, currently with two parts, gives continuity to the artist’s enquiries about the places of memory and photography in the construction of identity narratives.
The project appears initially as a response to a concrete problem. In 2018, the artist was in residence in Berlin and suffered from a crisis of insomnia, which resulted in tiredness, lack of concentration, and galloping anxiety. Regardless of its causes and whether it is a private matter, insomnia as a problem has a political dimension.
Sleep not only enables the body to recover from the wear and tear suffered during waking, but it also contributes powerfully to the formation and consolidation of memory. It also seems to be important for the mental processes underlying intuition and creativity. But, as Jonathan Crary tells us, this fundamental activity of human life, which should occupy at least a third of our time, is under direct attack by late capitalism. Although it has not yet been fully integrated by it, sleep is nevertheless very fragile, and our life is inscribed, in general, in a duration without intervals, defined by the possibility of continuous functioning.
Paradoxically, the artist seems to fall into this trap. Pressed by the need to present results, the artist decides to make the moments of her insomnia productive, contrary to Crary’s idea that sleep is the last instance of resistance to the voracity of inevitable productivity. But she does it according to her rules. Thus, the insomniac artist summons to her work, albeit in a veiled way, the themes and subjects that prevent her from sleeping. Using photographs from family albums found, as is already customary in her practice, the artist finds in them the ideal support to mould the images and characters of her personal history, images that cross the barriers of sleep and wakefulness, experience and memory. In addition to the usual affection with which Carla Cabanas treats the anonymous photographs that she uses in her work, this time she also introduces irony and satire, in the way she stripes and obliterates parts of the original image, populating them with new characters and new senses.

The second part of this project, “I don’t trust myself when I’m sleeping II”, was carried out in 2020. In this series, in addition to scratching the images with the scalpel, Cabanas experiments with gold leaf, inspired by the Japanese restoration technique Kintsugi, about which she acquired practical knowledge in 2017. Kintsugi is a century-old method of ceramic repair, which consists of gluing the broken piece with Urushi natural lacquer and covering the cracks resulting from the gluing with gold. The aim, in making these cracks evident, is to give value to faults and physical changes in objects, caused by time or accidents. In a society obsessed with hiding its weaknesses and fixing a perfect image of itself, even if erroneous, the artist directs her focus to the opposite, summoning the difficult moments of her life as inspiration. As if, by applying gold to her torn drawings, she is softening her ghosts, accepting and even valuing their vulnerabilities and wounds.

CREDITS:
Exhibition views at Paris Photo 2019 with Galeria Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, France.
Exhibition views of I Don’t Trust Myself When I’m Sleeping at GlogauAir – Artist in Residence Program, Berlin, Germany.
© Carla Cabanas

The Mechanics of Absence II

The Mechanics of Absence II

Installation with synchronised 35mm slide projection, 7 projections, Copper e Tulle. Dimensions variable.
2017

Following another exhibition, held between October and November 2016, Carla Cabanas will present a selection of works that address the idea of presence and absence through a scrutinizing look and a memory that becomes diffused.
By constructing an experience that operates on the image and on the time that belongs to it, the artist investigates the notion of reminiscence and how it is perceived. Through loss and saturation, working with light, shadow and projection, Carla Cabanas creates a device that calls up familiar figurations, where our shadow crosses the image, in a delicate balance between what is absent and what remains or between that which fades, fixes and reflects.

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Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues
CREDITS:
Exhibition views of Mecânica da Ausência II at Galeria Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon, Portugal, 2017.
Documentation © João Ferro Martins
Vídeo © António MV 

Intimate Archives After Media

Intimate Archives After Media

(A collaboration with artist Patrícia J. Reis)

Performance, installation, video projection (color, 1920×1080, stereo sound), “massage chair” (textile, foam, vibration motors, wood), computer system. Dimensions variable.
2017

In the light of the current context of the big data where data processing, data curation, storage, transfer, visualization and privacy are major topics of discussion, artists Carla Cabanas and Patrícia J. Reis proposed to collaborate on an artist project that aims to reflect upon future ways of materialization and/or dematerialization of visual private archives. The exhibition presented the concluding research for the collaborative project carried on during one month at Schneiderei home studio gallery, [Viena, AT]. At the first event on the 8th of February the artists collected objects from the intimate archives of the audience. These acted as the raw material and inspiration for this final event. The objects were archived, interpreted, processed, translated, and given back to the audience in different modes of experience, namely through body massages, automatically executed by an object- chair. As promised, the uninjured original objects are being returned to the participants.

CREDITS:
Exhibition views of Intimate Archives After Media at Schneiderei home studio gallery, Vienna, Austria, 2017.
Documentation photography © Sophie Thun
Documentation video © Patrícia J. Reis

The Mechanics of Absence I

The Mechanics of Absence I

Installation with synchronised 35mm slide projection, 5 projections, dimensions variable.
2016

(…) Carla Cabanas’ work focuses on reinterpreting time and memory, through an idea of loss and saturation.
Changing a set of slides, the artist modifies the story that each image retains, transforming, with that action, what was the registration of the suspended instant, or the crystallization of a special moment, in a living, undefined and fabled time.
Cutting the support and marking an absence, or adding to it other cuts in order to densify the image, Carla Cabanas composes a palimpsest of references that makes room for another look. A look made of layers, where something empties and fills itself, or something forgets and remembers, with the imprecision of what memory erases and keeps.
This is thus about the construction of a vision that translates a complex, stratified and non-linear time. A vision that responds more to emotion than to the rationality of chronological succession, and varies between what each image fixes and what the artist manipulates. (…)

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Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues
CREDITS:
Exhibition views of Mecânica da Ausência I at Cooperativa de comunicação e Cultura, Torres Vedras, Portugal, 2016.

Celtis Australis L.

Celtis Australis L.

Intervention on inkjet print. Variable measures.
2015

This project contains two moments: an exterior and an interior. Both are born from the idea, developed by the artist in residency, whose starting point are the leaves of the trees in the garden. In this process the artist acquired random photographs at the Feira da Ladra in Lisbon. These were then scanned and printed by ink jet process and then the paper was laser cutted. The final work is an installation that works as a metaphor and it occupies one of the rooms in the palace and the fountain in the garden. For the artist, the main focus of the work is the point in which the installation on the garden is exposed to climate elements, such as wind and sun, and its consequent transformation. The 13.200 leaves are a metaphor for the process of life and its evolution. The visitor will be confronted, in the words of the artist, by the poetics of time.

Lourenço Egreja
CREDITS:
Exhibition views of Mecânica da Ausência at Carpe Diem Arte e Pesquisa, Lisboa, Portugal, 2015.
Documentation © Oxana Ianin