Red Lines with Landscapes: Portugal (Lisbon)
|Title:||Red Lines with Landscapes: Portugal (Lisbon)|
|Date:||January 31 - May 22, 2020|
Evan Roth is a Berlin-based American artist who has developed a series of works based on communication networks, particularly underwater data transmission circuits. Starting from detailed research into the locations from where communication cables have connected the continents since the invention of the telegraph, Roth set out on a process to video map coastal areas involved in the history of these communications networks. Filming during the day with an infrared camera, the areas recorded are converted into pictorial landscapes or something approaching sanguine pencil drawings in an apparent contradiction of the technological component inherent to data transmission networks. The origin of Roth's work lies in the importance he gives to the material components of the Internet, pursuing the physicality of the network. This is the origin of his project to map the coastal areas from where underwater cables are launched, a project initiated in Sweden in collaboration with the British organization Artangel. Beginning as a research process, the project has two complementary aims: an internet component, which involves making the images captured by the artist available from an open access website; and an installation, in which the principal axis is the relationship between the infrastructure and the landscape.
The use of applications and the open source availability of images have constituted one of Evan Roths central concerns since the beginning of his artistic activity, in a political allegory of the network's potential field of freedom. From 2016 onwards his projects have also migrated to the exhibition space in the form of at times large-scale installations, which ostensibly display the images produced on screens connected by an apparatus of cabling that mimics processes of data transmission. This process of presenting landscape images on screens with various configurations and formats — in which a relationship with painting is present despite his work's technological appearance — summons up the ghost of nostalgia for a world definitively lost.
The project presented in Portugal heads in this same direction, reinforcing the romantic connotation of Roth’s work through juxtaposition with 19th-century paintings by Silva Porto, Aurélia de Sousa, Cristino da Silva, Alfredo Keil, Thomas da Anunciacao, Artur Loureiro, Alfredo de Andrade, Marques de Oliveira, Antonio Carneiro and Emmérico Nunes. The artist selected these works from the collection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art — Museu do Chiado (whose collaboration in this project was indispensable), focusing on landscape paintings spanning romanticism, symbolism and a certain degree of realism, and connected by their sensibility towards the Portuguese coastline, at times representing very similar places to those Roth captured on video. Materialized in diptychs and triptychs that dramatize the contrast between pictorial craft and digital lyricism, the overall result proposes a hybrid universe, perhaps similar in its physicality to what we now commonly call ‘the cloud’.
The exhibition closes with a workstation in the form of a desk where visitors can find instructions on how to access to Roth’ films for free use on their smartphones, computer screens or tablets.
— Delfim Sardo
- Interview with Umbigo magazine, issue #72, 2020 (pdf)
- Exposição de Evan Roth utiliza tecnologia e pinturas portuguesas do século XIX, WJCT Morning Edition, 2020
- Fidelidade Arte interview, 2020 (video)
- Image caption document (pdf)