Once again, Solar – Cinematic Art Gallery sets out to explore the border territories between visual arts and cinema. Having already hosted a sizeable number of exhibitions and parallel projects by artists who experiment with devices from one and the other field, selected amongst the most relevant names in Portugal and abroad or amongst the most promising of the national emerging talents, the gallery’s history is the result of several brave and difficult decisions. Such decisions imply a continuous effort to support the creation of original projects by artists whose work is somehow connected with any of the fields of activity of Curtas Metragens CRL. Being an artist whose work often looks at cinema, Solar is pleased to have his name added once again to its list of authors, as it happened several times before. It has been a long lasting and close relationship: João Tabarra participated at the exhibition 2012 Kubrick Odyssey (in 2012, it goes without saying) with 2007’s video installation “The Moonwatchers’ Defeat”, and, in 2015, he was a member of the jury for the experimental competition at the 22nd Curtas Vila do Conde. Now, João Tabarra looks at cinema once again, experimenting with and working over a never publicly seen trailer by Jean-Luc Godard for the film "Numéro deux".
Before better than engaging in considerations on the works that have resulted from this project and which constitute this exhibition, and before the essays by Nicole Brenez and Jonathan Rosenbaum, let’s hand over the page to a few words by João Tabarra himself:

“In 2015, Nicole Brenez, with whom I have been collaborating in my latest projects, challenged me to work upon a trailer made for Jean-Luc Godard’s Numéro deux (1975). With permission from Godard himself, the challenge was apparently simple: I could use in my own projects the trailers’ 4’56’’20 of film as long as I sent him a high quality digital copy of the original 35mm reel.

After the initial euphoria with such an unlikely opportunity, a long period of painful obsession and even fear settled in. For almost two years, I have inhabited what Nicole and I tenderly called the “God Box”. After lengthy conversations with Nicole Brenez, who, unlike me, never doubted that I had the required sensibility to work with this material, I chose to depart from seven assertions from her essay “Under Reconstruction”, using them as guidelines to develop a site-specific installation for Solar – Cinematic Art Gallery. Those seven assertions were taken as seven questions, each one of them linked to one of the seven films that make up this installation. Working from Godard’s fragmented language, I try to question cinema, images and the answers that we may still come up with for the crucial questions which contemporaneity confronts us with – using visual narratives in a world where image seems to be more and more spectacularly excessive.

From October 8th onward, Solar will host an original work divided into seven films, each lasting precisely 4’56’’20, a running time that also lends the name to this exhibition: 4.56.20.

Prodded by Nicole Brenez, I ended up contacting Jonathan Rosenbaum, whom she insisted would be someone who would understand what I have attempted to achieve with these films. It turns out she was right and we are therefore able to have in this catalogue a text by Jonathan Rosenbaum, an enriching further element of analysis.”

Mário Micaelo and João Tabarra

© 2019 Curtas Vila do Conde