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 contemporary experience of time has an impact on how we view periods of work, leisure, or sleep. The technological devices with which we interact are the same whether the purpose is work or leisure. These activities are intermingled throughout the day; work mingles with household chores and yet we lurk in social networks from time to time. A part of our day that has been greatly affected by the constant flow of information and the ubiquitous interactions with technology is undoubtedly sleeping. The Essayist, Jonathan Crary, argues that one of the legacies of Capitalism is the erosion between day and night, and we are now giving up our sleep to be available 24 hours a day as consumers or as a workforce. During the GlogauAir artistic residency, in Berlin, Carla Cabanas had severe problems sleeping, so her insomnia was the starting point for this project. It starts with a black mirror where you can read: I do not trust myself when I’m sleeping. Then in her studio, she creates a light installation where you can only see the images on the wall for the time determined by the artist. And a photo album is on a bed, where the images are scraped in order to create another meaning.

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

Eclipse

Eclipse

Lambda print, light box, metal.
30x45x14cm.
2017-2018
In the Eclipse series, initiated in 2017, I use a set of slides rescued from the Flea Market and that, apparently, portrait one specific family’s leisure and celebration moments. The images are presented in light boxes facing the wall, so that the viewer does not have a direct line of sight. I added to each light box a reflective surface, parallel to the image and mounted at a very short distance from it; this surface also fixates the box to the wall. Read more +
CREDITS:
Exhibition views of Mecânica da Ausência II at Galeria Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, Lisboa, Portugal, 2017.
Documentation © Pedro Reis and 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 

Constantina

Constantina

Intervention on inkjet print, 63x69cm.
2019

During her residence at Pico do Refúgio, Carla Cabanas carried out a research in several photographic archives in São Miguel. Among countless family records, she became interested in the photographs of Luisa Constantina, and this was the starting point for her project. Based on the concept of feedback, as from a camera filming the screen that reproduces the image its capturing, Carla appropriates a photograph of Luisa being photographed, emphasizing the feedback effect of registers and memories.

Bernardo Brito e Abreu

CREDITS:
Exhibition view of Divergent Gaze – Pico do Refúgio, a Prospective Heritage at Arquipélago – Centro de Artes Contemporâneas, Azores, 2019.

The Matrix and the Interval

A Matriz e o Intervalo

Inkjet print on cotton paper, variable dimensions.

2017

During the Walk & Talk Festival artistic residency, in 2016, Carla Cabanas had the opportunity to access part of the photography archive from the Instituto Cultural de Ponta Delgada. This archive contains a peculiar collection from the first half of the 20th century, consisting of photographs of photographs, depicting portraits and landscapes, scenes from the daily life, domestic interiors and aspects of labour. These images result from the act of photographing a photography, a common practice in those days that served several purposes, namely to do photo montages, duplications and enlargements, or simply to preserve the matrix.

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CREDITS:
Exhibition views of A Matriz e o Intervalo at Instituto Cultural de Ponta Delgada – Walk & Talk Art Festival, Açores, Portugal, 2017.
© Carla Cabanas

Boom Secret

Boom Secret

Intervention on inkjet print, metal. 40x40cm.
2017

Boom is a very small city near Antwerp that has developed around a long road leading to the river Rupel. These photographs depict meticulously that road. Black and white, probably military photographs, showing a series of written references or numerical codes, a date 04Mai’64 and in the end Boom Secret. For years I kept these images as treasure and always wondered what could be the secret. What secret could be hiding in this little town or in these pictures? I decided to analyze the images in search of some information as a kind of archaeology of the image, from which I began to cut and lift and twist the image in search of what it could tell me beyond its two-dimensionality.

CREDITS:
Exhibition view of Boom Secret at Paris Photo 2019 with Galeria Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, France, 2019.
© Carla Cabanas

Clouds Game

Clouds Games

Wet collodion photograph on glass mounted in light box.
Variable measures.
2016

(…) The exhibition now at display has its starting point in the contemplation of two Jan van Goyen’s (1596-1656) paintings, which belong to Fundação Medeiros e Almeida Collection, “Good Weather” and “Bad Weather”— which are dominated, respectively, by white clouds and dark clouds. Artists Manuel Valente Alves and Carla Cabanas develop their projects interrogating the cosmological relationship of human subject with environment, as well as the way earth and skies constitute themselves as fundamental media for human self-understanding.


(…) Carla Cabanas’s project, entitled “Clouds Game”, consists in 6 collodium photographic plaques of clouds, whose perception changes depending on the viewer point of view, underlining the simultaneous character, abstract and potentially figurative that clouds offer to the human gaze.


(…) In the work of Carla Cabanas, on the other hand, the clouds polymorphism, as well as the fact that their apprehension varies upon the subject’s point of view, questions the instability of our perception; at the same time these images underline the abstract appearance of clouds concomitantly with its intense figurative potential as they appear to the human subject.
The emphasis put in this destabilization is something that was overworked in baroque painting: in the clouds there has no linear perspective to look for, everything is equally distributed in the same space. This perceptive destabilization, technically possible here by the use of wet collodium with backlights, absorbs the viewer in an interpretative game, but also in a disquieting process about his or her place as a subject. In the twenties of last century, Alfred Stieglitz has photographed a series of clouds entitled ‘Equivalents’, exploring their symbolic potential (equivalents, as Rosalind Krauss pointed out, is in itself a symbolist term), but also recalling attention to the framing act, to the importance of the photographic gesture of cropping reality. Carla Cabanas’ clouds also suggest the game between the apparent abstraction and the latent, or subjective, figuration underlining the haziness that every photograph hides behind its supposed exactitude and realism. In a very specific way this images question the subject self-assurance as in the very process of contemplation one must think over the way he understands and apprehends the world.
It is the poetic character of clouds, for its apparent abstract form as for its transitivity inscribed silently in human ecology that is convoked by the two artists.

Margarida Medeiros
CREDITS:
Exhibition views of Andar nas Nuvens at Casa-Museu Medeiros e Almeida, Lisboa, Portugal, 2016.
Documentation © Valter Ventura

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.