At the Eyes' Ground
July 15 - 29, 2016
Fridman Gallery presents, At the Eyes’ Ground, the first solo exhibition in the United States by the acclaimed Portuguese photographer André Cepeda.
Cepeda is intrigued by ways in which art can reference time and space. Several of his series, including Depois (“After”, 2015), Rua Stan Getz (“Stan Getz Street”, 2014), Rien (“Nothingness”, 2012), and Ontem (“Yesterday”, 2010) allude to temporality and physical location in their titles, yet in their subject matter do not directly pinpoint a specific time or place. Rather, Cepeda documents time and place – the concepts.
Cepeda’s photographs record the emotional effect of transition. Transition is the in-between state; it is the nothingness that encompasses the before and the after. Cepeda’s shots of empty streets or naked bodies seem mundane, yet the sharp contrasts of light and shadow and the striking angles prevent the works from becoming purely documentary. By capturing minute, overlooked details of urban landscapes, a unique facial expression, a posture of the body, or a still-life composed of trash, Cepeda elicits the subject’s hidden history.
Cepeda’s flash-saturated, careful but quirky compositions challenge the contemporary notion of photography as automatic, instantaneous and objective. For example, he resists the obvious urge to capture landscapes with a horizontal frame, and shoots them vertically. The resulting space is not large enough to allow full viewer immersion; we are made hyperaware of the photograph’s two-dimensionality and of the process of its making. Denied the instant gratification of “entering” the picture and “identifying” with its subject, we are forced to examine them on their own terms.
In his “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” Walter Benjamin notes that in order to think meaningfully about time one needs to “brush history against the grain”, to refrain from conveniently forgetting details of the past. Cepeda’s “against the grain” photography makes us confront what is left behind by the victorious, what remains after a downfall, and what was, and still is, invisible.
Cepeda’s seemingly detached examination of time and space thus ends up bringing personal histories out of the shadows. Appropriately, he shot this new body of work in the long-neglected and recently “rediscovered” Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook (during his recent residency at Residency Unlimited). Unmistakably Red-Hook artifacts, that have escaped our distracted gaze, are Cepeda’s focus.
Special thanks to Nathalie Anglès, Residency Unlimited, Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar and Maria do Mar Fazenda.
André Cepeda, Untitled, 2016
digital print on awagami paper, 42 x 33 in
André Cepeda (b. 1976) has had solo exhibitions at important European institutions, including Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon, Portugal; Kasseler Fotoforum, Kassel, Germany; and Museu do Neo Realismo, Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. Cepeda has participated in group exhibitions at Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, Porto, Portugal; CCA – Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Canada; Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium; Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo (MARCO), Vigo, Spain; Galleri Image, Aarhus, Denmark; and Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College, Iowa, USA; among others.
André Cepeda is represented by Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art and Galeria Pedro Oliveira.