The cinematic event

Ana Anacleto

José Carlos Teixeira has been developing an intriguing body of work based on a practice of artistic research and experimentation. Using video as his preferred means of expression, he often resorts to performative and/or participative strategies that call for the involvement of other persons. His absorbing reflection on the notions of identity, boundary, exile, and displacement confronts us with a work that is aesthetically and ethically committed to the issues of the representation of otherness, through the construction of an anthropologically-based outlook that promotes an encounter with the Other. Concepts such as intersubjectivity and shared authorship are also present in his work, assuming a willing commitment to the Real, but also resting on an aesthetic dimension which lends it a profoundly political, but also profoundly poetic character.

The foundation of his visual discourse largely resides in the search for that (prolonged) encounter with the Other. This, we believe, inscribes his works among those of a line of authors that explore — also strategically, also methodologically, also technologically — the limits of the realm of the image, considered as a device not just for understanding the world, but especially for constructing it.

Using strategies drawn from cinema, particularly from documentary film, the artist emphasises a dialectical approach in which he represents his subject using direct speech (the interview) and a selection of carefully framed shots that make up the foundations of the aforementioned visual discourse — and, necessarily, of a particular way of seeing. Both in ON EXILE, fragments in search of meaning and in ON EXILE, elsewhere within here we are confronted with a phenomenological coincidence: the gaze of the author merges with the gaze of the viewer/spectator, which merges with the gaze of each one of the characters. The manifestation of the I as an Other and the Other as an I.

Playing an important role here, the question of time and the artist’s acknowledged intention to ensure each image is given the necessary time so that it can fully manifest, so that it can come into existence, into being — so that it can be read and understood. Rancière tells us that the images of art produce difference by moving away from the exclusive realm of the visible. Even though they come out of a certain event that occurred in a space and time within the scope of a cinema camera, these images — and, we believe, it is precisely there their cinematic condition resides — “are primarily operations, relations between the sayable and the visible, ways of playing with the before and the after, cause and effect.” 1

Small gestures, silences, the passage of time, changes in light, glances, and objects are meticulously observed and articulated with the emotional reverberations of the spoken word, bringing these images to the realm of cinema/art and moving them away from an exclusively documentary condition. Their nature is so eminently close to the Real as it is removed from it. Evocative of Godard’s work, the work of José Carlos Teixeira begins with the action of editing, combining, and juxtaposing visual and sound elements. In a second moment, he installs and presents his works in the dim space of the museum so that they can engage with one another and draw in the spectator; so that they plunge into his demanding universe, out of which they will emerge with more questions than answers and certainties.

1 Jacques Rancière, The Future of the Image, Verso, London and New York, 2007, p. 6.












   josé carlos teixeira