Critical of the anthropogenic behavior that characterizes our relationship with the environment, Conceição Abreu’s work conveys an experience of the world with a sense of place. An artistic practice that is associated with a distended time and that opens a space of mutual creation between the body and space, the self and the other.
The idea that mind and body are intrinsically connected and that it is through the lived experience of the body that the world is perceived (Merleau-Ponty, 1945) is strongly reflected in the artist’s Woven Landscapes series. In these artworks, there is an overlay made of mesh, created through simple and repetitive gestures, on top of photographs taken by the artist while walking through the garden. These two moments intertwine in pieces that generate relationships between interiority and exteriority, material and immaterial.
Conceição Abreu: My artistic practice is aimed at building a sense of place from the creation of conscious connections between myself and the surrounding space. Drawings, objects, or moving images – which I call weavings -, result from the succession of these moments of intersection.
Conceição Abreu: The series results from the search for points of approximation and intertwining between my body and a new home – where I now reside. It is built at the intersection of knitting and taking pictures. Actions that project me, respectively, in movements of interiority and exteriority.
The overlapping of the mesh (made indoors) and the photographs (taken in the garden) give visibility to the moments of interconnection, of our body with the world that emerges from those practices.
Repetitive gestures of creation
Conceição Abreu: I organize my practice in gestures that I carry out without great difficulty in execution – such as scratching, walking, rolling, knitting, or taking instant photographs. Actions that I perform in a repetitive way. The cadence expands time and opens a space that generates relationships between interiority and exteriority, material and immaterial.
All my works are organized in the search and execution of simple gestures that are repeated, so that, during the duration of this process, a rhythm is created that induces a time of immersion.
Building the Interweaving
Conceição Abreu: The experience of ‘reciprocal penetration’ (Emanuele Coccia, 2013) or intertwining, results from the idea of reciprocity in the creation of body and space, one being the relationship of the other and vice versa. This idea is linked to Merleau-Ponty’s concept of ‘chiasm’ (Phenomenology of Perception, 1945) which explains how the world and things, the self and the other are intertwined by a gestalt tissue.
Words by Rita Trindade and Conceição Abreu | Photography Conceição Abreu