The Narcissism of Small Differences ◄ Voltar

The Narcissism of Small Differences

Pauliana Valente Pimentel’s exhibition “The Narscissim of Small Differences”presents a set of photographs of moods, situations and people, contextualizing different realities on the São Miguel Island.

Carried out in 2017, in the context of an artistic residence, these images are now shown in partnership with Galeria Fonseca Macedo, the Walk and Talk Festival and the Tremor Festival. These registers integrate a new series focussing on a group of youths on the Island of São Miguel and on their relationships with the places and customs of the island.

Following her earlier work, such as “Youth of Athens” (2012), “The Passenger” (2014), “The Behaviour of Being” (2015), or “That Stone” (2016), the artist’s aim is to understand the way how particular features of a given location are expressed, the way it exerts influence on the organisation of the society and the reaction it gives rise to on the younger population. Thus, from the specificity of the insular condition, to the expressiveness of the relationship between nature and culture in its multiple social/cultural variations, Pauliana Valente Pimentel pays attention to the definition of an identity register, the way it is manifested and to the way it is questioned.

Focussed on the manifestations of genuinity and transgression, the artist seeks to understand the dynamics of the people she photographs, the environment they are reported on, and an openness, or liberty, they assume and demonstrate.

Her extended stay on São Miguel allowed her to strengthen her relationship with the island and its communities. The vision she shares, is powered by ample time of regular contact, based on proximity, confidence and openness. In a careful, intelligent way, she avoids a documentary register which classifies and stereotypes. In fact, her way to look at things is curious but revealing, without being intrusive and enquires without being judgemental.

In an intense way, we are given a perspective on everyday life, which at the same time is both strange and natural. It is strange, because there is a divergence between age, nature of the people portrayed and the expression of a culture, where tradition is predominant. Natural, because in the heart of these ambiences, the artist captured the the strength and spontaneity of each individual, and of each situation.

The title for the exhibition refers to the writings of Sigmund Freud, where the idea of small differences as the basis of sentiments of strangeness and hostility, which emerge between peoples, is approached. However, Pauliana Valente Pimentel welcomes the difference and avoids confrontation. In fact, her attention falls on the search for beauty residing in the uncommon aspect of each situation.

Like an island, each person is predominantly lost in thought in his world, arched over his own differences. And from childhood memories, the projections of other things imagined, the specificity each fixed image is defined by the sensitivity and fragility that each individual presents.

Those who appear in the photographs hint at something gravitating between acceptance and discomfort. Something that comes from the distance between cultural restraint and transgression of age. The way this is given to us is, however, based on a disarming simplicity. A simplicity reflecting an authentic side, where decadence and withdrawal are excluded, and where power and enchantment are celebrated.

Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues

March 2018

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