“the clock has no place in the woods” – Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues

By June 25, 2018texts

Dalila Gonçalves is undergoing a research on the expressions held by time. A research on the moments that meet and can be measured throughout a gesture, but also a research on those periods when hiatus, absence, or a pause is created.
Her vision likewise takes us to an idea of nature. Not just nature as a place (either real or fiction), but also nature as origin, root or beginning. In other words, what we acknowledge as a genesis and original model of any body or substance.


In her practice we can find a balanced relationship between time and matter which, mediated by perception, take us to her way of reading images and the condition of the object.
One could say that this dialogue between time and matter becomes acknowledgeable by the idea of accumulation. A hoarding that comes naturally with the repetition of passing or with things being transformed by use and wear, but also with the act of collecting, measuring, archiving and indexing, crystalizing a moment where the meaning of the object is reorganized.


The work Pontos de fuga / Vanishing points (2016), which proves the latter reading, shows a series of coins that have been changed by their constant handling. Their expression comes from its worn out representation, as well as from its image being replaced by something undergoing transformation. Thus, the head, the statue or the monument they carry fades away leaving an idea of process. Yet, its interpretation is also the result of reassembling the parts into a brand new whole. The coins that were once economic currency are now displayed in a suspended time, holding now a different meaning, a poetic one, supported by our gaze and the gaze these images still carry after all this time.


In the work of Dalila Gonçalves a passing is put to evidence and a suspension is created in between what one can determine and what is undetermined, therefore, the certainty of our gaze becomes blurred. Yet, the presiding gaze is in fact clear and encompassing, whereas it is once analytical (naming and recognizing the object) and contemplative (taking pleasure in its expression). There is, after all, something living between the pragmatic fixation of the objects’ nature (where, even when reassembled, a pencil is still a pencil, a saw is still a saw, and a coin is still a coin) and the spellbinding manifestation of its image (where, by sorting and grouping, one is taken beyond the evidence). It is in this condition, within this fragile balance between holding on and letting go, that time, activated by our perception, questions the nature of matter.


The subtleties of this record comes from the fact that it is not forced upon us nor strikes us as farfetched; instead, it is something that emerges from its ordinary everyday use and the acknowledgment of its inner nature. Consequently the intervention is not done over the material, forcing it into a different reality, but rather something inherent, that happens by use and is reorganized by repetition. In other words, a reasoning where the object’s nature remains the same but the expression it acquires is from its standpoint, transformed by time, being shaped, coloured and marked by it, and also by Gonçalves’ vision that selects, reinvents and displays it.


Curiously enough, the same happens when the object exists without its physical form. In this case, time is not present in it’s being nor in any other material record, and rather in the recognition of an activity or a common use of the object. It is in the object’s movement, or in recalling its everyday use, that time is acknowledged and presence is asserted.


In works such as Borda/Edge (2014), built out of absence, shadow and movement, the question lingers. Here, it is the shadow of an earth globe’s arm that travels across space. The globe’s body is missing, and it is its supporting element that spins and calls upon the object’s use, summoning the revolving globe’s presence. Yet, it is the part that measures and organizes the globe that is ultimately selected by the artist to be the presiding element in the object’s reconfiguration. And its image is, once again, moving and shifting.


Quoting freely from author Ernst Jünger (Das Sanduhrbuch, 1954), “(…) the clock has no place in the woods”; indeed, the acts of organizing, measuring and classifying are from a different order, in contrast to our willingness to contemplate and enjoy. However, now borrowing from Edward Hall (The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time, 1983), “(…) perception determines the different kinds of time” – the kind that captures and analyses, and the kind that flows and contemplates. Perhaps this way we can finally understand the place, or state, where certainty and uncertainty dwell in the same object, as the works of Dalila Gonçalves so cleverly and delicately point out.

Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues, 2016

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