Sleepwalking Images

The works that André Cepeda is now presenting form the second set of the project Moving, initially presented at the Solar – Galeria de Arte Cinemática in Vila do Conde, Portugal. This project, denoting a unique internal coherence, is anchored within a procedural register that will grant pride of place to space and moments that our gaze tends to neglect. More than being non-places, these representations correspond to a challenge to remove from the scope of the non-gaze images that even when they are seen do not demonstrate a particular capacity to be fixed as peculiar perception. In this manner, what this author is proposing, unlike the whole photographic tradition of the “road”, which is structured according to narrative nuclei with a more or less diary-keeping nature – through an idiosyncratic introspection, or taking on a reflection on peculiar social conditions – is to grant a specific weight to that which speed and the lack of justifiable stable points of view as such would not immediately allow to be considered as a minimally interesting field of vision. That is, André Cepeda provokes interruptions in courses in which absolute banality forms a visual soporific. What is surprising is that which these images, these cuts in that vaguely hypnotic film that we all experience when we go along motorways and roads flanked by urban and natural insignificance, when refined by his gaze (concentrated in the light, in the spatial relationships and in the framings) manage to produce: a strangeness through familiarity, a thrilling evocative capacity in the almost sculptural rigour of its composition when contrasting, for example, the cutting coldness of the safety rails with notes showing a threatened but resistant nature. This is how these sleepwalking-images wake up to a truly frightening reality: forming moments that have not been lived that stick to the skin of our memory, just as the sleepwalker often cannot shake off the sleep of insomnia. The photograph that opens the exhibition, that which is most removed from the structuring typology of the series, precisely evokes one of these moments. The carpet invites us to cross over it (the first in the whole series, because in the other images the road is a lethal separator), into a sort of return home. But this is a house inhabited by a mysterious light, its surroundings are deserted, one cannot sense and comforting residue of humanity. Is this solitude a beautiful or horrible solitude? Is it a representation of sleep or of insomnia? Is it an apprehended real or a constructed real – or rather, how can an apprehended real be so confused with a constructed real? It is in these signifying fluctuations, denoting a particular way of seeing the world, that André Cepeda moves with skill and intelligence. An intelligence of the gaze.

Miguel von Hafe Pérez