Astray (Prologue)

Kunsthalle Lissabon

Dec 12 – Feb 8, 2019

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In Prologue, Mesquita defines the event that shapes the narrative of the project. Kunsthalle Lissabon's underground exhibition space is completely transformed from an architectural point of view. In the center of the exhibition the marble floor collapsed completely giving way to a large cavity. Somewhere between a hole and a cave, the collapsed floor reveals a strange large apparatus, an ambiguous machine, simultaneously means of transportation and tunneling machine, which lies inert, half- unearthed and exposed to air and light. It looks old, rusty but its presence is uncertain, inconclusive. Perhaps it is the cause of the downfall of Kunsthalle Lissabon's floor. However, correlation does not necessarily mean causality, and the two events may not be bound by any cause-and-effect relationship. Nothing is obvious. A closer look reveals that something else is present inside the collapsed floor: bones. Human bones, animal bones, uncertain bones that seem to have come out, or been projected from the inside of the metal body that occupies much of the cavity. They are the remains of dehydrated, fossilized bodies of an ark of sorts, a an unlikely testimony from a distant past or a distant future.

Mesquita intertwines the imaginary of the archaeological exploration with narratives of science fiction literature creating a strange and disconcerting atmosphere in which the visitor is confronted with what appears to be an unusual accident, one that reveals an alternative history, the tentative existence of another civilization or society whose traits one can only have glimpses of. The past they belong to is uncertain. Maybe they come to us from the future, not the past. Maybe neither. Perhaps once exposed to water the bones will rehydrate and reform the beings of which they were once part of. We do not know. Maybe more time is needed.



Photos by Bruno Lopes

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