CATEGORIA: CATEGORY: Individual Exhibitions , Other Projects

Solo show Too Loud a Solitude at the artist run space Mad Woman in the Attic, Porto

Alone, in Madagascar. I have a book there; I have a book there. Everything that follows is extremely uncertain. In this speech I have no vacant places for certainties, to be full of doubts. I have a book alone in Madagascar; I don’t know how it got there, nor how I could have deposited it there.
 From Bohumil Hrabal’s book, “Too Loud a Solitude” in its Portuguese translation, the title was borrowed for this exhibition by Mafalda Santos, now Mad Woman in the Attic.
 Apart from the discussions that are generated around the themes of literature and the subjects of the book (separated but not disconnected) we return to the arrangement, to the layout of individual elements of a system or field in the object of a graphic (carto) construction. We have the novelty that this work does not deal with a social field, does not use real names of the workplace environment, does not refer to a plan. Here we are always obliged to assume a center. Although, as a concept, origin has never been absent, the previous speeches oblige me to make the safeguard, what appeared then was the complete impossibility of exact location of the author, inherent to the structure of the work, the idea of ​​its repetition was really present in the map. Here we have Mafalda Santos, indivisible, as a center, and we are invited to do the entire route in order to obtain its access; call, get in, go up the stairs, get in and see. The work is done from the inside, we see a map, emotionally constructed from sensitive references, purified from a logic of pure personal and inner causality (as opposed to social and external, in previous works) and shock the power the same unintentionality, or unfathomability, of the rule must be observed. Prerogative of art, not pretending to be deductive: the shock need not be seen in a reductive way, but as an insidious part of a discussion that is still present and contemporary. From a perspective more founded on proximity, we deal with a work of reproducing a mental structure of the learning process and assimilation of references through literature, a bibliogeography of an individual cultural field. We do not forget that our memory is dynamic; censor, correct and reposition. “Too Loud a Solitude” is an ephemeral moment in the author’s psyche; tomorrow or in the next book, today, everything will be different. The problem of science with the phenomenon of consciousness is precisely the difficulty of obtaining maps, of predictable structures that allow us, knowing where it is, to observe the object. It seems to us that the fact that we are subject to the rule prevents us from looking at the verb and knowing exactly what action we are constrained to, as a system we do not have cognitive access to our principle and, since chronology is not a science, it is not feasible to use it to the detriment of that absence; without precisely alphabetical tools, we are left with a wind from which we can make only (in dragging) a representation of an instant of ours. The connection to previous works is at this point embodied, since they were “the representation of a detail and a moment that always lives in the threat of soon ceasing to be so”. Also at this point, the “shock” and today’s discussion on the universality of measurement systems, since, being so comparable and subject to subjectivity, our different levels of connection, ergo organization and understanding of the real (endogenous and exogenous) is raised the epistemological question of the validity of knowledge that starts from the imposition of our rule on the organization of all systems perceived as outside it.

Rente, we have the quote from Hrabal and the invocation of Haňťa’s ghost; the book concentrator. It is not innocent; in this room by Mafalda Santos we have nothing more than the creation of a volume, referenced, quoted, in which the text is always inaccessible to us. Books are used as the builder’s raw material; it happens in the instant, despite content and intention, to collaborate in the expression of a portrait. The central character of the book created cubes of agglomerated paper, creating a thematic unit through a careful selection of titles and a phenomenal mechanical press. Less violent, invoking them without the need to destroy them, the present work inverts the idea of ​​using titles in the construction of a mental map of an author’s literary experience, defining the negative of the impenetrable solidity of the cubes of Ha cuba, when it allows the invitation and supposes the viewer’s entry into the labyrinthine volume of their cross-references.
Inside, in the solution of the work, we could not escape Borges and his Abetoetern Library, the quotation of the quote, of the volumes eternally repeated in and of themselves, of the geometrization of the universe of the book. In volume and texture, the system’s irregularity is revealed, dynamic zones of feverish activity, concordant or Protestant tensions between determined groups, empty spaces refusing contents. Within this intern, literature lives; it is convoluted and convolved, it is rewritten in the constant redefinition of proximity and promiscuity, in the suspicion of secret conjunctions among the ghosts of writers always unfolded (inward) in titles and characters.
 This idea, Madagascar, because I have an isolated book there, with no bridge or connection to the continent. For years I have been pursuing (not always with the same insistence) the idea of ​​a book read (or dreamed of) that impressed me tremendously. I keep only the emotional memory of the impact that reading had on me, a vague notion of the object’s format (it was quite small, maybe eighty pages) and an idea of ​​its content so sparse and fantastic that, with the exception of the fact that it has this island as a stage, I’m ashamed to reproduce it here. I have been asking and asking for years, when I have time I travel the coast of the continent in the places where I sense the fantastic island. Some boat that passes by, some traveler who comes to whom he can inquire about a strange book. A book that, by some chance and at some point, lost interest in contact with the inhabitants of the known world and today lives in a non-mapped space, having left me with its improbable ghost to be famous only within a small circle of people. crazy explorers. Despite all the science, the feverish activity of hundreds of thousands of map makers, places like this still resist us. Do you know of any book in Madagascar?

Text by José Roseira, 2005.



  • Mafalda Santos e Gustavo Sumpta (2007)
  • general view | Mafalda Santos artist
  • Alvará (2014) | Mafalda Santos artist

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