Containers and Contents
In the last five years, the creative platform P28 made a group ofexhibitions that had as a defining characteristic the use of a cargo containerthat created a place of intersection between public space and the proximity withan institution. The initiative has been gathering a significant number ofartists that explore those circumstances in very different ways and withnaturally irregular results without necessarily highlighting the symbolic meaning(political and social) of using a cargo container. At the beginning of its sixthyear, the project arrives at the Museu de Eletricidade using not one but threecontainers that correspond to three site-specific interventions by threedifferent artists. Despite this proposed plurality, this is a particular coherentmoment for the project in the way the three interventions – by António Bolota,João Seguro and Susana Gaudêncio – take advantage of the dichotomy inside-outsidesuitable to the project’s hybrid quality (something that is on the street but alsoa refuge) to explore issues that can be seen as connected and that areappropriate in a lucid, perceptive, and symbolic-like way. Susana Gaudênciopresents a proposal that transforms the space of the container in a cinematic place.The visitor engages with two projections that fill the interior with imagesthat take us to construction sites of modernist and post-modernist buildings,creating connections between the places, the structures and the participants, whilethe images are intensified by the colourful animations that accentuate themovement of the workers or the architectural structures. The ambience isstrident and contrasts with the outside noise as if it was hiding in itself awhole subterranean world, as if it was social archaeology. In turn, João Segurofilled the space in such a way that the visitors couldn’t get in, but withwooden structures and cardboard boxes the artist created a kaleidoscope of somany layers that the structure created is prone to secretive observation,revealing its many enigmas in the midst of others that cannot be deciphered.
Finally, António Bolota’s intervention is about seeing and not seeing, but onething you won’t do is access the interior of the container, it is even moresealed, since it’s actually buried in the ground and walled in by marble slabs evokinga tomb. In the hands of Bolota, the container turns into a sarcophagus, avessel imbedded in time, impossible to break into but majestic in its earthly glory.Using the container to make metaphors on the connections between work andstructures of production (Gaudêncio); transforming it in an unbreakable layeredlandscape (Seguro); or using it in a veiled invocation of death; the threeparticipants give meaning to the use of that industrial architecture, making ita place of entrance, sometimes denied, to a parallel world, however without itbeing transformed in a place of escape.
in Revista E, April 25th 2015, newspaper Expresso p.86.