The works of Augusto Alves da Silva (Lisbon, 1963) respond to his humanistic sense and interest. The everyday vision dominates his constant observation of contemporary man who in his photographs inhabits a world with complicated structures, movements and appearances. His images are constructed through narratives that appear neutral, but which include elements of reflection directed towards the spectator, so that reading his work is not linear and depends on who is looking.
The aesthetic orientation of his images, whether still or moving, searches for proximity with a routine vision, with the same imprecise vision of any contemporary living in any city in the western world. In his photographs there is usually no manipulation, sense of foreshadowing, nor much detail that is not directly related to the central issue which is the encounter between self and space.
The exhibition is structured around two pieces: Uma Cidade Assim (1996) and Estrada em Obra (1997), accompanied by a series of photographs made in 1986. In all of them we can see the artist's purpose to teach and allow the spectator to see, giving them critical independence.
The origin of Uma Cidade Assim is a project about the city of Matosinhos, jointly created with architect Álvaro Siza and photographer Gabriele Basilico. Alves da Silva is responsible for exploring the context - human and urban - as a place of spaces, forms and iconography that intertwine and create life in that city. In his images there are no faces or specific times, the protagonists are anonymous, they are disconnected or seen from behind, so that nothing happens that goes beyond the routine generated by the streets and beaches.
His work is a journey, cold and distant, which seeks to decipher the structure of the city’s appearance. Although he uses photography as a means, he wants to transcend the image and establish complicity with languages deriving from cinema, video and literature.
Estrada em Obra, is an unedited work designed for the exhibition programmes Espacio Uno from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, which proposes a new path. Using four screens with synchronised slides we witness the representation of a continuous dual walk. The scene is a landscape of mountains - the Peaks of Europe - and the city is sensed only through the road and the few cars that drive along it. In this path the spectator can still not find anything specific, but encounters the passage of time and the persistence of the horizon, asphalt and yellow lines. The paradox or discomfort, reside in the evidence of invasion by the human being in this new and finite space.
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