sábado, 10 de novembro de 2018

MEMORIES FROM THE END OF TIMES A stripped-back, monochromatic short – like the subject’s paintings, devoid of colour but rich in fine detail. Rafa Câmara provides us with a sparse, evocative account of a genuinely existential crisis: an artist facing the loss of his precious sight because of a cataract, the result of a blow to the right eye with a hooked stick, and with his sight, the ability to escape through creative expression from the trappings of this reality and from his own personal ‘Hell’. The short was filmed in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, where the Portuguese artist Pedro De Kastro lived at the time. It has a population in excess of eleven million, greater than that of Switzerland, and possesses a monumental skyline akin to that of the other world-cities such as New York and Hong Kong. It is an obvious truism that a short only has a limited time in which to tell its story, but ‘’Memories’’ is in many ways tied up with limitations of time. The artist grapples with the prospect of only having a brief interval of vision left before he loses his artistic gift. In general there is a sense of impending loss. De Kastro’s dangerous climbs – a source of thoughts, inspirations and of a feeling of freedom -- are set to an elegiac violin and he contemplates losing his artistic gift in a scene bookended by scattered, abandoned pens, the ticking of a cheap alarm clock and a helicopter and bird shown dark against pale skies, archetypal forms emblematic of the very freedom he fears losing. The ticking of the quartz clock leads to the observation that technology is certainly present (the short is framed by the starting and stopping of a radio cassette) but it is consistently and possibly consciously analogue, even bordering on anachronistic, just as the concrete towers that dominate the skyline of his dream-city essentially represent a past future envisaged in the first half of the twentieth century rather than the sleekly digital ecofuture as imagined by twenty-first century designers. De Kastro’s work-space is as sparse and austere as his skyscrapers, lit by a harsh fluorescent bulb and devoid of visual relief. His works slowly take their shape on an expanse of white paper, the actual lines almost impossibly fine. It is not a forgiving environment for a man whose sight is failing. As such, the cataract-operation acquires tremendous importance in a graphic recording of the actual surgery. The insertion of a needle, the slicing across of the cornea with a scalpel and the pulling apart of the cornea to allow access to the lens with a pair of metal hooks are accompanied by rising thrills of music or by undulating highs and lows, surreal half-glimpses of hands or surgical scrubs and the pale sleeping face of the artist. After such a traumatic operation comes the contrast of Pedro lying peacefully and reopening his eyes as he emerges from under the anaesthetic. It is an artistic rebirth, marked like any other birth with pain in the form of a new tattoo: a heavy cross devised in mediaeval Portugal and taken from the flag of São Paulo itself. This ‘cross of gratitude’ is explained by De Kastro in the terms of Roman Catholic theology, an fulfilment of a promise made to his God and a religious expression of thanks, but it is also full of meaning to the secular reader, perhaps forming a new and permanent connection to the city that is so much of his work. The ticking clock briefly recurs, then fades as he walks along a light-suffused corridor back to the meticulous work that is his artistic life. For the present, the dreamer at the end of time can return to our own with clear sight and record for us what he has seen: a cathartic process for the artist and a fascinating one for the viewer - Written by Patrick Gray

Nenhum comentário: