These photographs are conceptual compositions, with a woman’s figure, eroticized, naked feet, legs, arms and shoulders, a figure of long hair, sparkling. In this topical of connections, represented by the artist, the female figure is obsessively revisited, finding it, sometimes as the only character to occupy the canvas, sometimes in connection with some objects. The female figure is not distinct from the objects that make up the photographic or pictorial frame; whatever is on display, sofas, litter bins, or suitcases, packaging of yogurt, ladders or offices chairs, clothing spreader or cleaning buckets. Being a composition of objects, each photograph stages a topical of connections. However, we consider here, connections without human strain, because it does not have, on the canvas, the confrontation with another. Emptied of human sense, objects, being they female figures, they only speak to us about abandonment, loneliness, absence and closure
PHOTOGRAPHY | studio and mixed media | 80x80cm | 2013 | Private Collection
Somewhere | Photographs as paintings on canvas. Melancholy’s declination.
Moisés de Lemos Martins
Sociologist | Writer | Professor at the University of Minho
Somewhere is a photo album about objects, an album that gives us object compositions, arranged neatly on a PVC board, by the hand of a painter. What we’re dealing here are conceptual compositions, with a woman’s figure, eroticized, generally speaking, naked feet, legs, arms and shoulders, a figure of long hair, sparkling. In this topical of connections, staged by Pintomeira, the female figure is obsessively revisited, finding it, sometimes as the only character to occupy the canvas, sometimes in connection with more objects - the erotic aspect, as we know from Plato’s Banquet, is the art of connections. But the absence of another is absolute, enabling the relationship, the possibility of the meeting and a way forward.
In this eroticized body, there isn’t, in fact, the possibility of a future path. There is not, in these women’s images, the figuration of this promise. The female figure is a mere object of sensual enjoyment and aesthetics, ready to be consumed, and then left abandoned or thrown away, once consummated its consumable function as an object. The subtitles of various photographs, for example, "go for it", "no way" and "going nowhere", don't indicate anything else: once consumed, the sensual and aesthetic fruition object terminates its narrative function.
The female figure is not distinct from objects that make up the photographic or pictorial frame; whatever is on display, being sofas, litter bins, or suitcases, packaging of yogurt, ladders or offices chairs, clothing spreader or cleaning buckets. Hybrid on canvas with these everyday objects, mixing them in poses of pure delight, sometimes unconventional, in an erotic connection, exposing advertising as an art that feeds on the sex appeal of the objects and constantly reactivating it. The English subtitles, accompanying many of the photographs ("absolutely", "simply", "feeling blue", "feeling so grey", "black n white", "pinkely" ...), not confined to the instrumental functionality, of elements of mere aesthetic composition; they also remind us advertisings of brands of alcoholic drinks or cocktails, so intoxicating as the female images that go with them.
Being a composition of objects, each photograph stages a topical of connections. However, we consider here, connections without human strain, because it does not have, on the canvas, the confrontation with another. Emptied of human sense, objects, being they female figures, they only speak to us about abandonment, loneliness, absence and closure (“anywhere”, “nowhere to go”, “let it be”, “never mind”, “who cares”, “give me a breack”…). And they also tell us about an evanescence of sense. This is the case, for example, of female figures, extended horizontally, hanging in levitation, eyes open, but with an empty look, or so, with moribund closed eyes, staging a permanent loss. Grabbing the bodies by the waist, seizing them, the atmosphere of the canvas’s background, both the black and white, threatens to spread and make them disappear, symbolizing a permanent bleeding of meaning. An extensive yellow mantle covers, in one movement, a woman's body and a trash can. The same trash can is a receptacle to the collection of all objects there huddled up in a suggestion that they are residual waste, both empty yogurt containers, as well as the woman’s body, which displays itself, with one foot propped up on a pedestal – after all, a woman's body produced by advertising.
But even more striking is the image of a woman's body, dressed up in a corner with empty containers of yogurt, constituting a heap of trash, ready to be picked up in the crate, next to it. However, we can see in this jumble of empty containers, a colorful blanket of trash, covering a no less scintillating woman's body, the two hybrids of the same object – are debris, waste of human activity.
And it's the same song, also a weak song, both the woman eroticized, which celebrates the eternal femininity, like the woman who holds in one hand a cleaning’s bucket.
Production mode of the consumer society, advertising continuously reactivates a seduction process, which passes through the erotization of the woman’s body. Packed as object "fragile", plastic tape, suitable for packing brittle products, the woman's body produced by advertising is so "true blue" as "true blue" is the trash can which supports it.
It is this process that Pintomeira dissects in his building of photographic objects, which constructs paintings are torn out of a palette of varied colors, through a vigorous brush stroke. Giving us woman’s bodies to see, makeup meticulously applied, long and seductive hair impeccably combed, face, arms and legs, treated by photoshop to best accentuate the eternal youth of a female body, Pintomeira only enhances the perfect trace of women’s shapes in advertising, to better deconstruct this mode of production which reduces the human waste and debris.
For this reason, when in a quay that is not a safe haven, nor home, a woman's body is left there to abandonment "somewhere," and look for support in closed bags, as closed as her destiny is, what conclusion will we get to if not the one contained in the caption "whatever", which enters in the composition of this topical objects? And we won't be fooled by the woman’s body, impeccably dressed, from shoes to shadow, to a non-boarding pier - the black image background suggesting a closed horizon. We’re not dealing here, with this photo album of a life on hold, or a life waiting, and even less of a promised life; it’s just a missing life, a life without human direction. These photographs are not happy images, so far they are from the land of joy ("so far away"). No hope redeems them. It is this deep melancholy that sticks to the skin like the shadow of a meaningless story.
From this side of the canvas, is the viewer, an accomplice of this progressive meaning emptying story sharing this radical loneliness, an object where the human doesn't dwell anymore. Having attended several aesthetic currents, Pintomeira composes this photo album, at the end of a long journey. Remaining faithful to its usual path, which has allowed him to express and question the many vicissitudes of human nature. But, in more recently, especially since Interiors (2008 and 2009) and Other Faces (2010), he has focused himself with particular tenacity and radicalism in the devastated territory of the human, from where deserted the spirit and the city was abandoned, with no memory, looking lost, directionless and without horizon.