One detail stands out in Calé’s biography, that he have lived in many cities – Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and New York. But it is not the grandiosity of the outer landscape that these images refer too. In contrary, they are about the search of invisible essences. Maybe for this reason this series denotes the desire of the artist to explore the portraits opacity, impenetrable in it’s appearance, with no guarantee of an identity. That’s also where the isolation sense that take us comes from: Calé abandons the conventional formalization of the body to put himself in between the boundaries of the concrete aspects of the world and the vacuity that surrounds us. Nothing more contradictory can be imagined: on one side the presence of the cosmopolitan spirit, symbol of mobility, as if the artist could bring us the distinctness of these passing places; on the other, the capture of the shapeless, uncertain symbols, precarious figurations, as shadows in Plato’s cavern bonded to the injunctions of the imaginary.
Indeed, to transport to the artistic field this experience of non-belonging it is necessary to keep yourself constantly in the limits of the world and a provisory identity, that evanesce in this images by the luminous irradiation that obfuscates our sight. But it is trough this shine, a concrete substance perceived as a spectrum, that the paradox is established: these enigmatic figures, with their dimmed silhouettes, almost diluted, remain as human figures, with no major links to abstract concepts. These are ambiguities that scape from pre-defined scripts, standardized by globalized society. Trough his spiritual quest, his connections with the teachings of Osho, Calé tries to save the independence of his own being on the way to the “inner vacuity”, away from the external things. Finally it is in the series Heads, from North American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia, that Calé finds inspiration: the self-consciousness and the permanency of the psychological space of one contrast with the great city anonymity.
Text written by Brazilian Curators Angela Magalhães and Nadja Peregrino for solo exhitibion in Ateliê da Imagem, Rio de Janeiro, 2013.
On a superficial observation of the series Seekers, we, as observers, are inclined to reject the photographs as portraits that went wrong. They show signs of bad technical capability of the photographer, as the main character is absolutely out of focus and overexposed. With nowadays automatic cameras, it should be, indeed, possible to make perfectly sharp and exposed images… Or, more likely, impossible not to do them like that. This way today it actually demands more technical knowledge and control of the media to do unfocused and super exposed photos.
The persistence of the artists method makes us have a serious – and not superficial – look into the series. The Brazilian artist Calé made a series with such great rigor that we have no other choice than to to surrender to his figurative language and follow the premises of these photographs.
With no luck we try to create a clear image of the person in the center, which is, normally, the subject of our attention. But these people are constantly burry and indistinct, diffuse and out of focus – reduced to pastel color or card board figures that threat to fall if the wind blows. Some of these were given just the bottom part of the frame, like they were almost leaving the photo.
Only the backgrounds are sharp and well exposed, which we see clearly as we cannot let our sight go over the face of the portrayed person. That’s when the eye will start seeking what is next – the landscape of such portraits. We are in a Big City. Are we in New York? Or is it Rio de Janeiro? Or maybe both places and nowhere – in Everyville? In fact, isn’t it indifferent where we are – the same way the faces became indifferent?
Because the conditions for our existence in big cities look to be the same no matter what place in the world we are at. These series are not about specific people or places, but the structures in which are found and act in. The buildings in the background with their colorful surfaces meeting each other and giving the image a sense of depth, or no depth at all. It’s designs, shapes and colors interacting with the pastel color people are just a scenario.
And it is not by chance we are in an urban scenario, where each one is supposedly surrounded by many other: here they are reproduced isolated, alone and anonymous. In no other place we are so lonely, than when we are surrounded by unknown people.
The windows in the buildings apartments, the shack in the favelas, the mass transport in highways and subways or the mass media propaganda emphasize only people’s isolation as figurants with no roots in the urban landscape. The possibility to be in touch with many others – to care with one another – should be much bigger in the metropolis. But our social network ends up being superficial and restricted to short-term connections.
Infrastructure, communication lines and networks, free space and urban scenes – After all it’s not so strange that Calé has studied architecture. He reproduces in a very distinct way it’s impact in our relations in a beautiful figurative language.
Text by Jens Friis, Curator at Brandts Museum, Denmark, on occasion of solo exhibition in Galley Image, Denmark.
When we like someone, this person is detached from time and gains a specific temporality. All the history, the places, the faces, all we sense passes trough us in a continuous flow, un unstoppable movement since it’s the same that keep us alive. But this flow behaves with different rhythms. The one we like doesn’t passes by fast, but stay standing in it’s own time. Follows side by side in silent dialogues confirming that our existence depends on others. So much that we retard this time flow to keep it at the stretch of a hug.
Photography interrupts our existences continuum. And that’s the miracle of this technical image: the flow, even interrupted, won’t stop, and pulls from us the temporality that needs to communicate. It’s like a hug changing the order in a public situation and highlighting from our conscience a fragment of sociability.
Citation of José de Souza Martins: “photography doesn’t documents the quotidian. It’s part of the imaginary and fulfills the functions of revealing and concealing in daily life. Therefore, people are photographed represented in society and represented to society. Photography documents, like an actress, the sociability like dramaturgy. It is part of staging.”(MARTINS, José de Souza. O Retrato do Ser Fragmentado. In: Sociologia da Fotografia e da Imagem, São Paulo: Editora Cotexto, 2009, p. 43-47)
This series aims to question our affective boundaries. A provocative reflection on how we let ourselves love, give, take and connect with the other. It presents a gesture that arises from relaxation an materializes in a deep connection with the other: In public spaces men hold their best friends in long hugs, perturbing the environment in a encounter many times inedited for them too.
Text written for Marc Ferrez prize 2013 by Pio Figueroa, Julia Maia and Calé.