LUISA CUNHA. HELLO! ARE YOU THERE?
HELLO! ARE YOU THERE?
The first retrospective of the work of Luisa Cunha results from the EDP Foundation Art Grand Prize the artist was awarded in 2021. Curated by Isabel Carlos, the exhibition at maat covers the time arc from 1992 to 2022 and all the media she has worked with, from sound to photography, through video, drawing, and sculpture. It will thus be the largest exhibition of her artistic production, taking up a considerable area of the Central building, as well as some spaces outside the museum.
The exhibition allows the visitor to dive into a work that, concisely put, is characterised by the placement of the art pieces in unusual spaces; the use of her own voice in a colloquial but assertive register, creating performative interpellations; the word as sculptural matter and the use looping; the creation, with the minimum of means, of unusual situations; the destabilisation of the act of perception and reception; an urgent impulse of communication that carries disconnection and incommunicability within itself; minimalism and conceptualism as matrixes of an intriguing, enigmatic and subversive artistic universe. Sound is invisible, but this does not mean that it fills less, or creates less space, namely landscapes and experiential and relational states, even though the speakers or other sound emitters are always minimal and contained. The performative dimension is found not only in the way Luisa Cunha sometimes urges us, through her own voice, to move in space or to imagine other bodies in relation to ours, but also in the fact of stressing and alerting us to the awareness and reflection about what surrounds us, be it the physical space or the mental and social dimensions.
In the words of the curator “the questions of perception and communication are problematised through listening, observing, and paying attention to simple actions of daily life that, although resulting in seemingly gratuitous messages, displace the viewer to another time and space, creating a multiplicity of interpretations and emotions.”
The opening of the exhibition Hello! Are You There? is also the occasion for releasing the most complete catalogue of Luisa Cunha's work to date. With more than 280 pages, the book Luisa Cunha. Obras / Works 1992-2022 encompasses a total of 108 works in dialogue with a selection of text excerpts by various authors, released between 1997 and 2022 in several different publications. The volume also includes two original essays by Isabel Carlos, who curated the exhibition, and by Joshua Decter, an American writer, curator and art historian.