João Tabarra: Inner Narrative

João Tabarra: Inner Narrative
Library Shelf Location 18.TABA
Publication Date 2014

The exhibition Inner Narrative by João Tabarra (Lisbon, 1966) looks at works created over the past twenty years in which the artist investigates the use, power and historical possibilities of the image.

Employing a poetic language and a cinematographic layout, the exhibition is also the place in which to undertake a critical reflection on the social role played by the individual, who is invited to make public his or her own inner narrative.

This is perhaps the most daring and politically oriented proposal that art can effectively put forth: inviting each of us to take up a critical position on the world that we inhabit, constructing our subjectivity within it. Subjectivity is not limited to itself but exists in confronting others, in other people’s suspicion that ‘a subject resides in me’. It is subjectivity also that reveals the kingdom of João Tabarra’s unlikely characters, through which the artist proposes the existence of paradoxical identities.

The central idea of the exhibition, which is not arranged in chronological order, consists of creating a kind of cinematographic panorama in which characters and their plots unfold as in a film through which the artist expresses critical positions on the current world. Affirming these personal positions, making them public, equates to raising them into the domain of politics – to the ágora, in the Greek sense – a setting that belongs or should belong to all of us. This means that, in sharing positions of a private nature, in presenting them in the form of images, the artist confronts spectators with them and allows them to identify with these positions, leading them to perceive that experience itself, their inner narratives, could contain a political dimension.

Whether the language that they employ is poetic or committed, João Tabarra’s images are constructed in such a way as to generate ambiguous situations and paradoxes and particularly to embrace a critical attitude, a space for judgement, which begins precisely with inner questioning and disquiet. In this respect, the poetic and the political operate alongside each other in João Tabarra’s work; the public and the private intersect in unpredictable ways under a stain of suspicion.

If João Tabarra demonstrates anything in this exhibition, it is that a face, the immediate appearance of an image, may only be a mask and is often a protective shell. The artist shows that behind each image a vast universe opens up, an inner narrative that is the only possible portrait of anyone. The image is a surmountable wall, a sign for thinking about the world, a door through which to explore the various levels of reality and action, be they political, aesthetic, social, economic or affective. Hence the historical power of the image, which is hidden in the worlds that it opens up, in the resonance propagated behind it, in which an endless doubt is revealed.

We do not know for certain whether we are being invited to jump over the wall or to navigate between the sublime landscape of icebergs that can be seen on the horizon. Let us take a chance and enter.

ISBN 9789726352808
Quantity 1
Pages 224
Authors Agnes Kohlmeyer, Sara Antónia Matos
Format Softcover
Publisher CAM - Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon
Related Artists João Tabarra, Joao Tabarra
Category Photography
Keywords Narrative, cinematic
Artist's Nationality Portuguese

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