The installation ‘All that we don’t remember’ comes from the paper work ‘Station of the Rains.’ Produced this year and inspired by the homonymous work by Agualusa, the artist’s work on paper manages to explore in its shades of royal blue the sensation of rainwater or if we think of the work of the author Agualusa, the tears of time. In ‘All That We Don’t Remember’ all this is magnified, the rains that wash and clean and the tears that weaken, defeat and renew the soul.
The artist Iris Buchholz Chocolate has accustomed us in her work to an exercise in memory, an exercise that simultaneously requires looking back and imagining from the elements that remain. A practice that goes beyond research and data collection, and establishes concrete relationships with the traces and remnants of time. In this exhibition, this gesture demands a little more, the work itself demands immersion from us and leads us to its interior, but also to a first memory of ourselves. Those moments at birth when we are deeply connected to something greater that protects us, to a woman, a mother who is until then only imagined, heard, touched. These are the dimensions that this work explores, the imagination and the senses allowing us to interact with it in various ways and flooding us with blue.
In a young country like ours, both memory and history are constantly contested, often re-written and other times fictionalized. This movement is still alive because there are living protagonists and the remnants are still lived by everyone, sometimes kept in albums and boxes that serve as evidence against the official historiography. But memory is not just all that we remember, and it is also made up of voids and forgetfulness, of how we fill that oblivion. Memory is a space of imagination that lives from the emotions that echo from the lived facts, the physical ability to remember and the need to forget in a dialogic relationship that is established with the present and the attempt to build a future.
This exhibition is challenging as it demands from the viewer, as our whole body interacts with the work. However, it is also the case in terms of the construction and implications of art production. The artist’s research and design work was followed by a workshop and training in artistic sewing at the Academia do Empreendedor do Governo Provincial de Luanda on Via Expressa, which used material sponsored by Textang. The workshop lasted 4 weeks and trained 10 technicians. The project is the result of a network that directly creates social and economic impact on a large number of people. And it highlights the need for art to assume this role of responsibility in the environment in which it operates and, on the other hand, to assume itself as an economic agent in a country that denies the relevance of the sector, referring it to the space of entertainment or folklore.
In her own words: “from the floor of the gallery emerges a landscape to sit on, camouflaged in the same strips of fabric. Visitors are invited to sit or lie down, be together and emerge in the installation, listening to the sound that is reignited from the film ‘Traces of loss.’ The sound is composed of breathing (underwater) and wind, referring to the elements of water, air and fire. Breathing is a metaphor for the soul: the soul of breath that many cultures believe is the seat of the life force, and the soul of every human being. Also, most life forms begin their existence floating in liquid, the folds of the ribbons can also poetically refer to the female genitals, which are the gateway to the life of every human being on this planet.”
Written by Suzana Sousa