May 4, 2020: This week’s Sunday Connections series featured a conversation between CAC’s Drew Klein and Portuguese artists Raquel André and António Pedro Lopes. They revealed the intentions and discoveries made through the ongoing, four-part series "Collection of People", which explores Lovers, Collectors, Artists, and Spectators. In these uncertain times, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the themes they uncovered about connection and affection.
Is it possible, Raquel André posits, to access and more profoundly understand complex topics such as intimacy and creativity? And, what does it mean for an artist to perceive those topics by collecting and restaging thousands of deeply personal recollections and approaches?
In the 7000+ photographs that are part of André’s Collection of Lovers performance (2014), including 400 that were featured as part of the related exhibition of the same name (at the CAC in 2018) we have in front of us a tapestry of moments that capture in eloquent visual poetry what intimacy means for different people, restaged by the artist herself and her interviewee.
I remember being touched by the tenderness of so many of those images and how much they differ from the saccharine, one-dimensional expression of romance -- and who is entitled to it -- depicted in the media. The secret language of affection and connectedness Raquel portrayed in front of me had a multitude of modalities and is a reminder that even universal themes have divergent ways of articulating themselves.
As we are confined to our homes, many of us have an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on the intimacy that is emerging in our relationships with our dwellings: the way the light falls through the window during different times of the day and draws different shadows on our walls; the choreography of continuous movement from room to room, up and down stairs, between stove and refrigerator.
Perhaps, if we can, we might consider with gratitude how lucky many of us are to be held by our homes; by the chair that embraces us softly; by the floors that welcome our feet; the windows that so generously connect us to the outside world; the vivid sounds of our surroundings and allow the spring air to gently touching our skin. If we together were to embark on a "Collection of Homes," for example, what is the affection toward your home you would share? What are you grateful for in that exchange between the physical structure and your body? What do you wish for others to know about that relationship and why it matters? And, what do you wish for them in their own lives?
Later this week, we will look back at an exhibition by Reneé Green in 2004 titled Wavelinks (2002 - 2004). In this work, another group of people, musicians, contemplate sounds and music that transcend cultures and how sound -- both artificial and natural -- affect us physically and emotionally. How do sounds connect beyond words? What sounds are associated with specific experiences, such as fear, love, or resistance? And, how can sounds caress and inspire one's life?
I’m looking forward to exploring these other types of relationships, inspired by my experience of Raquel André’s work with person-to-person connections. We’ll be looking for ways in which to understand how to extend the idea of connection and intimacy to how we interact with the environments in which we live today.
All my best -- Raphaela