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Luisa Cunha
Artist List
Luisa Cunha

Luisa Cunha lives and works in Lisbon.

At the basis of her work is a very clear and emotional notion of relativity of life itself, and consequently of conventions, of the meaningful difference between interior and exterior, of private and public, and of the fragmentary nature of the "non-place", of power, of time and place dimensions, and that of the discourse.

This conviction has had its origin in a practice that the artist has developed from an early age, being trained in observing without any aim in mind, just by letting things enter, in a state of complete receptiveness, by imposing no frontiers, and no judgements (as much as possible). First finding things and then seeking them.

Such emotional and mental availability leads in many cases to chaos, so the stimuli and and the connections that occur are countless. Excitement and anxiety coexist in most cases. And I have to stop and physically walk long distances until things calm down, and then I might be able to synthesize ideas in a way that they capture the emotion I first felt. I think art is a total nervous system.: it breathes as I breathe to the rythm of my emotions, my thoughts, of what I read and see, the people I love, the rages I have. My sight and mind work in a "zooming in/out" way: a kind of visual/mental camera.

Being unable to stand between frontiers and conventions - whatever their nature is - her works lie in a space "inbetween", in the space of the "unsaid", of the "spoken silence", of the repetition of visual language. Therefore, the used media varies according to what an idea demands: i.e., reproduction of voice in speech acts (#DROP the bomb, 1994; Do what you have to do, 1994; Words for Gardens, 2004); photography with or without text (The thing, 2006; It´s all in your head, 2008); objects (readymade or not, with or without text); video; objects with sound text (Hello!, 1994, Dirty Mind, 1995, The Red Phone, 2007); performance; drawing; and written texts or drawings on the walls.

I cannot deny that addressing the spectator through vocally enunciated texts is at the core of my artistic practice. It has been (and I guess will always be) a strategy I have used to explore my interest in language as a socially codified instance of the meditation of experience and the perception of reality. It invokes the self-reflexive consciousness of the spectator in the act of aesthetic perception, as the portuguese curator Miguel Wandschneider so keenly identified. In fact, I distinguish between "real" language, which envolves words that mean nothing to me, and a "shadowed" language. This is not a language of midday, but rather  a language of all the time before midday and after midday. Even so, the rigor of the language I want is that of midday.

These last six years saw a multiplication in the number of exhibitions Luisa Cunha has been in. The anthological solo exhibition at Museu de Serralves in Oporto (2007) was an opportunity to re-think a significant part of her work, and to consolidate her relationship to the Portuguese art scene.

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