This is an excerpt of the conversation between Simone Sasmayoux and windferreira on the occasion of the work “Wall, Paper, Wood – Tools for Exposure” as part of the group exhibition “Lisboa – Cidade como Metáfora”, curated by Antonia Gaeta at Galeria Quadrum, Lisbon in November 2010.
You find the full text here.
Simone Sasmayoux: To start our conversation, you asked me to pick up and comment on one detail of the work material you have shown me so far. I would like to focus on the title you have chosen for your pieces. You call them “Tools for Exposure”, and I would like to know, which aspect of the manifold meanings of the word “exposure” you are aiming at.
Windferreira: All aspects, if possible!
Simone Sasmayoux: But certainly not “indecent exposure” as it is used in court cases?
Windferreira: Well, let’s say a part of the manifold meanings as you called it. There is a certain tension and ambiguity in the act of exposing that attracts us: the process of uncovering, of making visible or bringing to public attention is always accompanied by an endangering of the object or even the person being exposed: to harsh tongues, to court, or simply to rough weather conditions, which might destroy an object that has been brought to light in such a meticulous way. This assumption works, if we follow the etymology of the word “exposure” and experiences made in the process of archeological excavation, in which findings are sometimes being covered again as a measure of protection from corrosion. So we have a paradoxical situation, in which what is being exposed in order to be reconstructed and valued in its original state, is at the same time put in danger of disintegration or decomposition.
Simone Sasmayoux: But if your Tools for Exposure pretend to set into play this double logic of valorization and decomposition – will your objects decay during the course of the exhibition?
Windferreira: Actually we named the elements of our work Tools for Exposure and not “Objects for Exposure”, because we hope that they will not only be seen as objects on display or in decay…
Simone Sasmayoux: Though you might not escape from this reading so easily. In fact, by transferring those elements to the exhibition space, you set them up “for exposure”, and maybe even expose them for sale, right?
Windferreira: The word “exposure” is obviously boomeranging back at us! But let us bring support structures into play here, not only to support our argument, but also because they play the same ambivalent role in this whole process of exposure: they technically support a wall or an object which would not stand on its own any more, but at the same time expose the object’s fragility and the way it is constructed, its being “just a wall” – we’re interested in this ambiguity, this act of supporting an object, while at the same time dismantling its symbolic value by juxtaposing materials.
Simone Sasmayoux: As far as I understand, you are referring to support structures on actual sites of intervention: reconstruction or excavation works. In a museum display the situation changes, doesn’t it? I realised that in your visual material you also show modes of display after the transfer to the museum taken place.
Windferreira: That’s true. In a museum, it is rather the arrangement itself,which is supposed to support the value of a piece. Instead of showing
the way in which objects were made, or revealing their physical weight, the presented pieces become light, elevated and highlighted in the real and metaphorical sense of the word.
Simone Sasmayoux: What about the display of your own work? Don’t you use support structures to highlight your work as well?
Windferreira: You mean in the way we place our works in the space?
Simone Sasmayoux: Not only. I think there is a whole set of supportstructures in an exhibition space like the one you are presenting yourwork in: such as the highlighting of your piece in announcements andpress reviews…
Windferreira: Our use of the “Brightness and Constrast” function toilluminate the photos we present…
Simone Sasmayoux: Yes, why not? I wonder why in your own work you allof a sudden embrace the same support structures you try to expose in the works and working methods of others?
Windferreira: Doesn’t your question also refer to the act of hiding and showing – asking how much of the thoughts and the production process are being exposed when showing a work? How much do you expose yourself to the public when articulating your thoughts on your own work? Is this a good thing to do or is it better to keep silent and let viewers find their reading through the web of material and narratives? Do you even run the danger of destroying your work’s complex position, when speaking on its behalf? And then again: Who should speak on its behalf, if not you? The curator? The critic?We are entering a political field here – or actually, have been in it from the beginning “A zone of conflict and negotiation, rather than a smooth transition of the author’s intentions,” if you allow us to quote your stance on façades.
Simone Sasmayoux: You’re welcome. But your eloquent discourse does not seem to completely answer my question: the choice between taking up an example and digging into its complex layers, or spreading connections between different sites and topics on a sheet…
Windferreira: But is there a need to choose? Can’t you go in both directions at the same time and deliver the task of creating meaning of different, and maybe even misleading connections between materials and narratives to the viewer?
Simone Sasmayoux: So in the end, it is the viewer, who is the ultimate architect and archeologist in your project on fake façades and imagined cities?