João Pedro Pinto
21.01 - 19.03.2022
Westphalia signals a spurious combination of images. Its force obsesses over sustaining a refusal. To be precise, it’s the whole sequence of frames that forms, by way of a kind of fatalism inherent to the desire to continue, without the rumble of grand finales, in the trepidation of probable fixations, a photograph, which, besides, appears as a gush: the great face that finalizes or reconducts the present work. The gesture of defending the value of a photography project by looking at the unity of a single piece may come across as wordy chutzpah or, worse, interpretive ineptitude – and the former tends to be indicative of the latter. This conduction, in turn, re-conducts, disturbing the categorical re-cognition of the compositional pieces themselves. I am referring to that woman’s face – 3 times a woman, 3 times a beacon investing against the dark night, incriminating the fissures of matter; in two different moments, one interrupted, the other successive. That-Woman, whose arched brow outlines (and adopts) a place certainly inhabited by the photographer’s gaze, returning an opacity that serves the difference and repetition of more or less eccentric motifs. In a reversal, more or less voyeuristic. Let us not make of this brutal impression, of this play of hidden forces, a reductionism. In fact, the imagery movement that João Pedro Pinto offers us is typically cinematographic, juxtaposing the noble impression of verticality that each piece subjects itself to, with the impression of horizontality, moved after all by a sequential narrative, inquiring, actively amplified to the spectator, more (temporarily) retained than (relatively) included. In this imagery combination – and imaginative, dreamlike – what is looked at exposes in its objective quality the vengeful detour of a continuous act of looking. It is not an issue, however, of looking back, since the rhythmic dissymmetry of the sequence makes it impossible to weave alternative chronologies to the wild temporality to which an artistic product, such as photography, alludes to, or should allude to, by means of evasion. By both quotative and disruptive mechanisms: shots linked in the complex and non-excluding adjustment of disjunctions. The author's photography does not lend itself to the immediate taste of the panoramic versus the detail. Its master plan is the oscillation of textures, events that unfold in ways that are more intuitive than dialectic. Thus, it is perhaps rash, even though it outlines an authorized temptation in an apparent first instance, to incur in a comparative parallelism, which would have in the variant repetition of motifs the virtuous vice of an unsatisfactory ricochet. Motifs appear and reappear, and their appearance does not occur according to a platform of equivalence or aesthetic assumption, but of flashes without inherent memory, essentially associative, and therefore, spontaneous each time. Repetition ceases to reverberate a past and serves instead to safeguard a living archive, in which loss and sensation exist in a vacuum: in the tangential force of the power of not having existed as unportrayable experience – face or mask, nudity or retaliation, insect or human, resting body or the festive modesty of the broken appointment, registration or invitation. The face, a decentered formula, does not provide a grammar for the typified understanding of the images as a whole, but rather puts forward the hypothesis of a pilgrimage to abandonment. The search for a comfortable distance in which misunderstanding, aphasia, or the near-muteness with which love covers the mouths of the world, perpetrates a fall, bottomless, the animated step of the question: what does it mean to continue if not to go positively down a trail of denouements, more or less tasteful, in which what is lost or irreparable reconfigures an asset, and the resulting influence, to be carried in one's hands.
Westphalia is the place, and above all the weight of the place, of always being (oneself) other and the same, of being (oneself) indecipherable in the loose signaling of evidence. Suddenly, it’s us who are the clearest of the silenced bodies, by one and more whims, by so many prejudices, to which the photographs respond by choosing to never say everything. If we can learn something from this work, without engaging in the missionary pretense of turning beauty into a pedagogical-moralist pretext, we will have to accept the exposure of fragility as the most faithful way to go on living, righteously, without sabotaging the vulnerability of the stories told and stolen, in the instant of its insatiable radiant production.
Maria Brás Ferreira, Lisboa, 2021
Tradução de Sara Levy, 2022
João Pedro Pinto (Porto, 1990). Spends his childhood and adolescent years between Guinea-Bissau and Lisbon. Moves to Madrid at the age of seventeen, where he pursues his studies in Directing for Film and Television and Digital Cinematography, graduating from the Madrid Cinema Institute – NIC. In 2010 starts his B. A. in Philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid - UCM. Co-founds the Production Company Riddle Studio, 2009-2012. In 2012 returns to Portugal, establishing himself in Porto, where he graduates as a professional Photographer from the Portuguese Institute of Photography – IPF in 2014. Works as a freelance Photography Assistant specializing in Architecture and Product Photography, 2012-2014. From 2014 to 2017 works as Assistant Producer at Snowberry Production Company. Moves to London in 2017 where he sets up his first Studio, specializing in photographic Portraiture of Actors and Performing Artists, while pursuing a post-Graduate degree in Screenwriting for Film at the Metropolitan Film School – MET. Returns to Portugal in 2020. Currently lives in Lisbon where he exercises both his artistic and professional practises.