André Romão | Sunrise

“The sun rises in the Mediterranean.
All things displayed in the gallery are dead, however, they may refer to living things existing outside these doors.
Living things are often forced to seek shelter elsewhere in the hope that these new places will be welcoming.
New unexpected environments will be inhabited.
Dead stones will be woken from their long sleep. We’ll make them dance.
Mobility will force new encounters.
New encounters will create new ways of living.
Serendipity is to be acknowledged.
Gatherings are necessary.
Form is just a decision.
Decisions are important. Another end of the world is possible.
We will take care of the living before burying the dead, let them linger a bit longer.
The past is to be embraced, however, nostalgia is to be avoided at all cost.
Not all places will be comfortable.
These days illusions are way too real.
The sun sets over the mediterranean.”

The current show presents one new video and a new photographic set around the ideas of encounter, movement and dialogue. André Romão’s work usually draws from historical episodes, both documented and unrecorded to create complex against-the-grain narratives where temporal, disciplinary and geographical borders blur alongside the distinction between reality and fiction. Usually anchored in a systematic production of texts, the present works depart in the direction of a wordless encounter with new bodies, maintaining as a common denominator the tension between bodies and historical and political systems.

The video The Western Freeze (gatherings) is based on a digital collage of all the surviving fragments of the western frieze of the Parthenon in Athens. These fragments scattered between different museums are brought back to life by a process of digital animation allowing the residents of Athens to gather and parade together again. The cinematic traveling through the frieze is confronted by drummer Quim Albergaria. Recorded unrehearsed and in one take to respond to the moving image, the drummer’s body dialogues with the cold dead stones of the frieze. To the briefing of “waking up dead stone” given by the artist, the drummer decided to make those stones dance.

Taking from the same systematic opposition between the dead and the living, heavy and fragile, the individual and the collective, the show presents a set of photographs entitled Sunrise, a set of staged images where a group of Beetles from the forests of Indonesia and the Philippines inhabit sculptures by Henry Moore, Emilio Greco and John Chamberlain. In this fictional dystopian future, migrations forced by ecological catastrophes generate unpredicted encounters in hostile environments. The fragile bodies of the insects are set against the heavy metal of the much-larger sculptures, the natural and the man-made collide.

André Romão (Lisbon, 1984) studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon and at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. He has exhibited his work at Kunsthalle Lissabon and MACRO – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Roma and participated in shows at Spike Island in Bristol, Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Museu de Serralves in Porto, CAPC – Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, Fearnley Museet in Oslo, Futura in Prague and at Syntax in Lisbon, amongst others. Lives and Works in Lisbon.