The reinvention of the look


“I have a feeling that inside you somewhere, there’s a somebody nobody knows about.” Alfred Hitchcock

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, indefined 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.
Besides each individual slide, the nature of what we see changes, also, in the series that, in loop, are shown to us. And in a common line, but with different instants and places of projection, the images fix, overlap, repeat and absent themselves, echoing in each other what, individually, still subsists in themselves.
In that coexistence of times and distinct positions, the very idea of screen, or projection surface, expands; since winning the space the exhibitions’ room offers, the images are arranged on different walls, reinforcing the involvement of the observer.

From a tendentiously home and leisure environment, at home or on the road, in the daily log or a special event, what Carla Cabanas gives us to see is something of a nameable affinity. Densely, but without a body and fixed time, the cadence of her projections takes us to something we recognize and have as close. Something that is not entirely tangible, but where we identify some past of old photographs, evenings together and shared vacations, which are vaguely familiar.
It is true that this happens because the slides are old and always report to the same group of people. However, in the same way, this also happens because there is a number of situations that, at different periods, are repeated in the multiple projectors, functioning as clues or reminiscences of a possible narrative.
We would say that the echo through which we report to the images stimulates curiosity and invites to understanding. But this is just a way to involve the observer, because, in fact, the artist does not draw any story, creating instead a suggestion that leaves us in suspense.
So, when crossing lapses and reminiscences that crisscross, flee and persist in our view, the cadence of the slides and the sound of the projectors reveal the fascination for the loss and for the saturation that the images accuse. But they also reveal the will to discover something that moves in a carefully staged time. Something fictional, which is only a hypothesis and lies, beyond memory, in a past time, but also present, of charm, search and discovery.

Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues