Nothing can be seen. No, nothing.
The white of the night is tarnished and you need to take a few steps into the picture to grow used to it.
André should be pleased, he made the picture.
What is it, making the picture? It must be something like this, when you succeeded in picturing a tree backing onto a wall which resembles everything except the picture of a tree backing onto a wall. When the picture unveils something that is not known.
This tree, André captured it like a criminal, and so the tree is now full of presence and history.
André can count his blessings: he made the picture (and me, the picture of a happy André fills me with pleasure: because there are no unhappier photographs than these ones. Here everything is festering with frustration, unacceptance, the refusal of anything as it is, opposition.)
Then there’s this black cable, winding its way leisurely along this white gravel, this plastered ground. And this cable winds its way with a great deal of muted criminality. Here are the characters from Nothing: crawling creatures, likely villains, these cables that can also be used to tether, bleed, whip, stifle, strike fear. Cables and gravel, chairs and ceilings, a plant on a chest of drawers, a bedside rug, objects that are witnesses to crimes that no-one seems to have noticed. Crimes that have slipped through the net.
This world would fit into a handkerchief. Nevertheless, you feel it is at once terrifying, dangerous, harmful and above all brittle. This evil world could turn into dust on the spot, instantly, under our very eyes, pulverise itself, and we would not be surprised. This is a world that knows it’s doomed, that is playing its final hand.
A harmful book, Nothing. A dangerous book. Crimes for shabby model homes, gone to waste – always this old relationship between the seedy and the unfinished, the abandoned.
And André looks on these crimes without ever intending to judge them, without intending to disrupt their original turmoil, without trying to abate their violence; on the contrary, he makes the picture to try and extricate everything from it at once: to distil its juice, its flavour and strength, its essence and molecule.
André never seeks to give this bizarre cosmos a centre or a burgeoning order. His eyes never see a chronology or a hierarchy in things. A cable, a wall, a tree, a plant, a bedside rug: it’s all the same. All of it would equal a human being should one make an appearance. For the moment, there’s no-one.
Someone will eventually appear, but it’s already a little late.
There’s nothing more beautiful in photography, I think, than a character – how it arrives, how it disappears, what it gives us of itself and will never own. Ontem, André’s previous book, was full of characters – people even, it should be said. Here, there’s only her: the faceless woman.
By the time she arrives, she is nothing. She is naked, vulnerable, faceless, tied up. I think that at some point she decided to take the stance of a woman who gave herself completely up to pleasure. She demands a metamorphosis. The first she appears, she is no more than a spine. Then she will turn into a creased, relaxed stomach. Or a hard, yet tired nipple. She will be that lock of hair behind her ear, independent of the face it has just framed. She will be this astounded, crucified face. She will be this gaping, worn-out cat. She will be in tatters.
I know André sees the world as separate parts. That in Nothing, all the parts vie for their bit of space. Each piece fights for a place. It’s war. It’s a silent war.
Each one fights for its place: the hook on the wall claims its share. The wall competes with the woman: it craves to be barer than her.
I myself suddenly feel very lonely.
For all that, Nothing is not a completely hostile book. I can see it warming up as it progresses, I see her body taking the postures that come after pleasure. Nothing sets around her a perfume of silence. The ceiling in the house becomes a galaxy and I can glimpse a kind of budding solace in the sex offered to me in the pain and the confusion. It’s a peaceful, comforted, muted body at last.
Nothing is silent, secret. Dusty. André restored to this faceless woman’s skin its chalky texture, as brittle as the plaster on a wall. Nothing contains layers of secrets. Each photo builds a stratum. What André realised from Burroughs is that it takes a ritual, a device, a protocol to glimpse this piece of dead meat hanging from the tine of a fork.
Nothing is the baring, not just of this body and this ritual. In this encounter with photography, masochism, nudity, the cold, everything is ransacked, reduced to very little, dissociated, boiled down to its bare essentials. If our bodies resemble a model home under construction which a general failure left unfinished, all the better. If the worst does its job, all the better. Because at the end it is Nothing that we face. And the knowledge about this Nothing is immense. It rests on the zero and the infinite, on sex and death.
All this drawn in chalk, reduced to dust.
Nothing stares me in the eye. It stares at the void within me. It scrutinises me. The acute concentration now directed at me has reversed the relationship: it’s my turn to not be much of anything. It’s my turn to be an object, a piece of furniture, a wall panel, a speck of dust, of plaster and gravel on an empty ground. It’s my turn to be a bit of dead meat hanging from the tine of her fork. It’s my turn to stand still in a puddle of silence around other puddles of silence. It’s my turn to be nothing or so little. It’s my turn to become a thing.
Before there was nothing. After there’s no certainty that anything else remains.
Text by Phillippe Azoury for the book,Rien, 2014.
Edição Centro Cultural Vila Flor, Guimarães.
At the moment André Cepeda has a solo show curated by Urs Stahel, at MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon, until January 2021
His last book published by Pierre Von Kleist Editions, can be ordered here
Solo exhibition at Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art in 2021
Developing a new project for Rialto6 to be presented in September 2021
André Cepeda was born in Coimbra, in 1976. He currently lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2012, artist in residence at the FAAP, São Paulo, as the recipient of a scholarship granted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Cepeda was shortlisted for the Paul Huf Award, Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam (2011); Prémio BESPhoto, Lisbon (2010); and the EDP Foundation New Artists Prize, Lisbon (2007). He has been showing his work regularly, in Portugal and abroad, since 1999. He has since then made multiple artist residencies and received many commissions, among which stand out the 2010 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, EDP Foundation (2014), the Fundação de Serralves (2014) and Gulbenkian Foundation (2019). In 2016 he was artist in residency at the Residency Unlimited, in Brooklyn NY, in the context of the partnership Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar/ EGEAC and Residency Unlimited, NY. He is currently working in a new exhibition and book project with Urs Stahel, to be presented in 2020.
Among his many exhibitions stand out: Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon; Benrubi Gallery, NY; Fridman Gallery, NY; Galeria Pedro Oliveira, Oporto; MNAC – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon; Kasseler Fotoforum, Kassel; Gallery INVALIDEN, Berlin; Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels; Standard/Deluxe, Lausanne, Switzerland; MARCO — Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo; Le Bal, Paris, France; Haus der Photographie, Hamburg; Wohnungsfrage — Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, Oporto; CGAC—Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Paris; Museu Oscar Niemeyer, a Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro and MASP — Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil.
His work is represented in multiple public and private collections.
André Cepeda founded Blues Photography Studio in 2005 where he produces work for many photographers, instituitions and gallery’s, printing, scanning and photographing. www.blues.com.pt. Since 2008 he runs Inc. Livros e edições de autor, a bookshop specialized in artist books. www.inc-livros.pt. André Cepeda gives a one week workshop every year at the Photography School CEPV, Vevey, Switzerland.
André Cepeda is represented by Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, Galeria Pedro Oliveira, Oporto and Benrubi Gallery, NY.
Representação Oficial Portuguesa na 16ª Exposição Internacional de Arquitetura – La Biennale di Venezia
ATELIER-MUSEU JÚLIO POMAR/ EGEAC E RESIDENCY UNLIMITED, NY
Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto: work commissioned for the exhibition The SAAL Process: Architecture and Participation, 1974-1976
European Photo Exhibition Award, EPEA02
Ordem dos Arquitectos, Lisbon
Offline Residence (Xerem Associação Cultural), Lisbon
National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon
Artist-in-residence, Fundação EDP – Electricity Museum, Lisbon
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon
Artist-in-residence, FAAP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Nominated for the Paul Huf Award, Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, Holland
Ordem dos Arquitectos, Lisbon
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon
Lisbon Architecture Triennal, Lisbon
BESPhoto Photography Prize, Lisbon
Champalimaud Foundation, Lisbon
Reitoria da Universidade do Porto, Porto
EDP Prize – New Artists
IEFP, Ministério do trabalho, Testemunhos – Iniciativa Novas Oportunidades
RAR Holding, Porto
Artist-in residence, António Henriques Galeria de Arte Contemporânea, Viseu
Centro Nacional de Cultura, Lisbon
Museu da Imagem, Encontros de Imagem, Braga
Portuguese Center of Photography, Porto
Artist-in-residence, Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium
Depois, Benrubi Gallery, New York
Cão, Galeria Pedro Oliveira, Porto
Uma especie de silêncio, CAAA, Guimarães
Rasgo, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, 2017
At the eyes ground, Fridman Gallery, New York, 2016
Depois, MNAC – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon
Untitled, Old School, Lisbon a project by Susana Pomba
Rien, Kasseler Fotoforum, Kassel, Germany
Rien, Centro Cultural Vila Flor, Guimaraes
Kanal, Standard Delux, Lausanne, Switzerland
Rien, Câmara Escura, Torres Vedras
Explicação da Lâmpada, Galeria Pedro Oliveira, Porto
Sob um sol recto, Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon
Rien, Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon
Rien, Museu do Neo-Realismo, Vila Franca de Xira
Ontem, Galery INVALIDEN1, Berlin, Germany
Canal, with Eduardo Matos, Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium
CAV-Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra
O que o futuro foi, Mostra de Vídeo, Laboratório das Artes, Guimaraes
Untitled, Galeria Pedro Oliveira, Porto
Ontem, Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium
BESPhoto Photography Prize, Museum Berardo, CCB, Lisbon
River, Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon; Galería AdHoc, Vigo, Spain
Untitled, The Mews – Project Space, London, UK
Project Room, Galeria Reflexus, Porto
Sem título, Mad Woman in the Attic, Porto
Ontem, ZDB Gallery, Lisbon
Stasis, Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon
Provas de Trabalho, Projecto Apêndice, Porto
Moving#3, IN.TRANSIT, Edificio Artes em Partes, Porto
Moving#2, Galeria AdHoc, Vigo, Spain
Moving, Cinematic Art Gallery, Vila do Conde
Anacronia, KGaleria, Lisbon
Anacronia, Museu de Imagem, Braga
Anacronia, Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium
Jungle, Espaço Bartolomeu 5, Lisbon
Viseu, António Henriques Galeria de Arte Contemporânea, Viseu
Closer, Galeria +Consigo, Coimbra
Mapa de Intensidades, Oficina, Galeria Fernando Santos, Porto
Anacronia, Gallerie Image, Aarhus, Denmark
Corpo, tempo, desejo e morte, Galeria Massa, Porto e Vulcão dos Capelinhos, Azores
Pontes, lugares e antropologia, Silo-espaço cultural, Portuguese Center of Photography, Porto
Anacronia, Encontros de Fotografia de Coimbra, Coimbra
Before and After Architecture, Chicago Architecture Biennial, with Nuno Brandão Costa, Chicago
Public without rhetoric, Representação Oficial Portuguesa na 16ª Exposição Internacional de Arquitetura – La Biennale di Venezia, Veneza
Variations Portugaises, Abbaye St. André – Centre de Art Contemporain Meymac
Escala 1:1. 21 Artistas Contemporâneos Portugueses, Tabacalera, Madrid
A preto&branco, Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisboa
Rhytm of Distances: Prposition for the repletion, Galeria Vertical/Silo Auto, Porto
Uma Colecção = Um Museu, MACE – Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas, Elvas
Them or us, Galeria Municipal do Porto, Porto
Un certain regard, Obras da Colecção Norlinda e José Lima, CAV, Coimbra
Da fuga e do encontro: Inversão do Olhar – Espaço Novo Banco; Lisboa
Edita: secuencia/sentido, CGAC-Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia
The New Social, European Photo Exhibition Award, House of Photography at Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany
The SAAL Process: Architecture and Participation, 1974-1976, CCA – Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Canada (cur. Delfim Sardo and Susan Cotter)
International Fotobook Festival, Kassel, Germany
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Paris, France (cur. Miguel von Hafe Pérez)
The SAAL Process: Architecture and Participation, 1974-1976, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (cur. Delfim Sardo and Susan Cotter)
The New Social, European Photo Exhibition Award, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Paris, France
Le Bal Books Week-end, Le Bal, Paris, France
The New Social, European Photo Exhibition Award, Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lucca, Lucca, Italy; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundatio 02, Paris, France
Nobel Peace Centre, Radhusplassen, Oslo, Sweden (cur. Sérgio Mah)
SUB 40’, Galeria Municipal Almeida Garrett, Porto
Brussels Unlimited - Collection Contretype, Espace Contretype, Brussels, Belgium
Revisitação, Galeria Pedro Oliveira, Porto
Roubaram a partitura, no vazio seguimos, Jardins Efémeros, Viseu (cur. Miguel von Hafe Pérez)
Lei de Ohm, Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon (cur. Filipa Valladares)
Muralhar: Artistas POrtugueses Contemporâneos, Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (cur. Delfim Sardo)
The New Social, European Photo Exhibition Award, The Nobel Peace Center, Oslo
Biennial of Photography MASP/Pirelli, MASP, São Paulo (cur. Ricardo Resende)
Visões do Desterro, Caixa Cultural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A Arca Invisível, National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon (cur. Delfim Sardo)
Noise, Pedras & Pêssegos, Porto
Buildings and Remnants, Fábrica ASA, Guimaraes European Capital of Culture, Guimaraes (cur. Inês Moreira and Agneta Szylak)
Materiality, Alternativa 12, Wypsa Institute of Art, Gdansk, Poland (cur. Inês Moreira and Agneta Szylak)
New/Old Life, Galery Blanca Berlin, Madrid, Spain
Wherever I Lay My Camera Down is Home, Photographic Festival in Rome, Rome, Italy (cur. Paul Wombel)
Ontem, Encontros de imagem de Braga
Arte Lusófona Contemporânea, Galeria Marta Traba – Fundação Memorial da América Latina, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Panis et Circensis, Centro de Artes de Sines, Sines (cur. Filipa Valladares)
Da outra margem do Atlântico – videoarte e fotografia portuguesa, Centro de Artes Helio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (cur. Paulo Reis and David Barro)
Private Lives, Centro Cultural de Cascais, Cascais
Da Cartografia do Poder aos Itinerários do Saber, Museu Nacional-Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias da Universidade de Coimbra
Ré-collection, Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium (cur. Jean-Louis Godefroid
Impresiones Y comentários – Fotografia Contemporánea Portuguesa, Fundació Foto Colectania, Barcelona, Spain (cur. João Fernandes)
A iminência da queda, Galeria Diário de Notícias, Lisbon
Rescaldo e Ressonância, Reitoria da Universidade do Porto, Porto (cur. Inês Moreira)
Está a morrer e não quer ver, Espaço Campanhã, Porto (cur. José Maia)
The Core of Industry – European Photography, Reggio Emilia 2008 – Musei Civici di Reggio Emilia, Spazio Gerra, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Testemunhos – Trajectos de Qualificação, Edifício da Alfândega, Porto (cur. Sérgio Mah)
Paraísos Indómitos, Marco Museu de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo, Spain (cur. Virginia Torrente)
Territoire, 6ª Biennale Internacional de Fotografia de Liége, Liége, Belgium
Where are you from? Portuguese Contemporary Art, Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, USA (cur. Lesley Wright)
EDP Prize – New Artists, Central Eléctrica do Freixo, Porto
Antimonumentos, António Henriques Galeria de Arte contemporânea, Viseu (cur. Miguel von Hafe Pérez)
Deslocações: 4 perspectivas contemporâneas portuguesas, Comité Económico e Social Europeu, Brussels, Belgium (cur. Lúcia Marques)
PhotoLondon 2007, Galeria AdHoc, London, UK
Intro, Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium
Bxl, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles à Paris, Paris, France
Busca-Pólos, Centro Cultural Vila Flor, Guimaraes and Pavilhão de Portugal, Coimbra
Residências I, Museu do Caramulo, Caramulo
Encontro de Arte Jovem, Bienal de Arte, Chaves
CO2, Miedzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, Krakow, Poland
Colecção da Fundação PLMJ, Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra (cur. Miguel Amado)
Creators of European Photography, Photo Festival Union, Lodz, Poland
Desenhar Discurso: Digressões sobre uma urbanidade disruptiva, XIII Bienal de Cerveira, Vila Nova de Cerveira (cur. Miguel von Hafe Pérez)
Re-produtores de sentido, Arte Sesc, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (cur. Miguel von Hafe Pérez)
E no princípio era a viagem, Bienal de Pontevedra, Pontevedra, Spain (cur. Miguel von Hafe Pérez)
Et puis... voilá, António Henriques Galeria de Arte Contemporânea, Viseu
Colecção de Arte Contemporânea da Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Museu Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporânea, Badajoz, Spain
Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China
Salão Europeu de Jovens Criadores, Montrouge/Sant Cugat/Amarante
Galeria Fernando Pradilla, Madrid
Pontes, lugares e antropologia, Cadeia da Relação, Portuguese Center of Photography, Oporto
Memórias da Cidade, Encontros de Imagem, Braga
Bruxelles Active, C02, Brussels, Belgium (cur. Jean-Louis Godefroid)
Bruxelles a l’infini, Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium (cur. Jean-Louis Goderfroid)
Fundação de Serralves – Museum of Contemporaray Art, Porto
CGAC – Centro Galego de Arte Contemporânea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
MNAC – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisboa
Colecção António Cachola, Elvas
Museu de Arte do rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels, Belgium
Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell, Iowa, USA
Instituto Camões, Foreign Affairs Ministery, Lisbon
National Photography Collection, Ministery of Culture, Porto
Encontros de Fotografia de Coimbra, Coimbra
Museu da Imagem/Encontros de Imagem, Braga
Culturgest-Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Lisbon
PLMJ Sociedade de Advogados, Lisbon
Museu do Caramulo, Caramulo
Câmara Municipal de Chaves, Chaves
Banco Espírito Santo, Lisbon
Ilídio Pinho Foundation, Oporto
Amorim Turismo, Troia
RAR Holding, Porto
ZdB Collection, Lisbon
Mica, Vigo, Spain
RDHK, self published, NY, 2016
Depois, MNAC/Pierre von Kleist Editions, Lisbon, 2016
Rua Stan Getz, Pierre von Kleist Editions, Lisbon, 2015
Rien – text book, CCVF, Guimarães, 2014
Whispering Light, self published, 2013
Kanal, Edition Contretype, Brussels, 2012
Rien, Pierre von Kleist Editions, Lisbon, 2012
Ontem, Cahier Blue, Brussels, 2010
River, self published, 2009
Anacronia, Edition Contretype, Brussels, 2005
River, Lp, 50 copies
Kanal, Lp, 25 copies
Electricity, single, 150 copies
casal, 16mm, color, 1'25''
bandeiras, 16mm, color, 2’30’’
rien, 16mm, color, 3’15’’