Different voices crossed and blent in a continuous verbal flow… And as you know, speaking is a form of self-eroticism, and therefore of pleasure, and that was clear as you listened to Radio Alice. (…) Voices without images, voices that intensified in the dark.
Interview to Clemens Gruber, 1977 l’anno in cui il futuro cominciò, Franco Berardi (Bifo) e Veronica Bridi (eds.), Fandango libri, Roma, 2002
The show at The Green Parrot includes two works, the newly commissioned Ghost sitting on bar stool (2015) and Dead blink (2014).
Ghost sitting on a bar stool belongs to a set of texts in which Romão becomes the ghostwriter for a ghost, delegating all forms of authorship to the figure. Following the line of its previous apparitions, at The Green Parrot a room will be left empty and scarcely lit with only a bar stool (a Duplex, designed in Barcelona in 1980 by Javier Mariscal), a microphone with its stand, some cables, a speaker, and a pre-recorded track that embodies the presence of a ghost addressing the audience. The new text builds on the tension between material and immaterial forms of corporeality, the ghost personifying the systems and invisible abstractions that act upon bodies. The text reclaims the body as a living organism, mixing it with a number of references to articles and pamphlets published in Italy in the context of Autonomia. The stool, heavily inspired by Italian post-modern design, is placed in a tense relation with the text, becoming almost reactionary in its referencing to a specific historical shift. In this way, Romão blurs the divide between social experiments of communality and self-knowledge and the hedonistic hyper-social sort of socialization that followed. It is unclear how the destruction of social subjects and the claiming of one’s own body was transformed into body culture; the bar becoming one of these vague places in which desire was articulated.
Dead blink is a 35mm slide projection of 81 colour slides of the same image: an empty eye of a bronze roman sculpture. The image, photographed in Museo Nacional Romano – Villa Massimo in Rome, shows a dark hollow space where an ivory eye once stood, long gone due to the fragility of the organic material. The slideshow of the images is programmed in a succession that mimics the speed of the human eye blinking movement, creating a ghost- like presence, an artificial shutter of an inanimate object.
Both works revolve around the idea of how looking and being looked at may be seen as early economical gestures, desire operating as a form of prospecting profit. Classical psychology proposes: “How can the other be used to satisfy one’s own desire”? In this case, desire works as a ghostly mechanism that activates exchange, may it be erotic, historical or economic.
The Green Parrot has also produced a limited edition of 60 t-shirts designed by the artist. The printing alludes to a sentence used during the occupation of the University of Rome – La Sapienza in 1977.
Ghost sitting on a bar stool, 2015
“Duplex” chair by Javier Mariscal and Fernando Salas, 1980. Microphone, stand, speaker, text, ghost
Sculpture I, 2015 Acrylic glass
Sculpture II, 2015 Acrylic glass
Dead Blink, 2014
Temporized 35 mm. slide projection, 81 slides
André Romão was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1984, where he lives and works.
A selection of his solo exhibitions include: A Nervous Smile, MACRO – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2014); Golden Masks hide Decomposing Bodies, Galeria Baginski, Lisbon (2013); Notes on the History of Violence, Middelheim Museum, Antwerp (2012); Barbarian Poems, Galleria Umberto di Marino, Naples (2011); The Vertical Stage, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2010); The Winter of (our) Discontent, Kunsthalle Lissabon (2010).
His work has been featured in group exhibitions such as Europe, Europe, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Olso (2014); BES Revelação, Museu de Serralves, Porto (2013); szkmr (as Atlas Projectos), Galerie Kamm, Berlin (2013); PhotoCairo 5, Townhouse Factory Space, Cairo (2012); Às Artes, Cidadãos!, Museu de Serralves, Porto (2010); Res Publica, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2010); Democracy among Tyrants, Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon (2009); A River Ain’t too Much to Love, Spike Island Art Center, Bristol (2008), among others.
His first selection of writings was now published under the title Perpex. Marble, Bone on the occasion of the exhibition Europe, Europe at the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Olso.
With the support of:
Fudaçao Calouste Gulbenkian
The Green Parrot would like to thank: NoguerasBlanchard, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and specially Eduard Escoffet.