Please join us for An Evening With Alexandre Estrela, November 6 @ 7pm at The Museum of Modern Art
Since the 1990s, the Portuguese artist Alexandre Estrela has explored the material and conceptual properties of images: how they are created, and how they are experienced. Whatever the starting point—a scientific specimen, the history of lens-based technology, or a found object—the artist’s work often takes the form of multilayered media installation. In Estrela’s words, these are images “not just [to] be watched, but rather to be unfolded” via synesthetic experience, perceptive rabbit holes, or other self-reflexive sleights of hand.
To mark the opening of Alexandre Estrela: Flat Bells in MoMA’s Kravis Studio, the artist brings this ethos to our cinemas, where he presents four pieces, made between 2007 and 2011, that have never been screened in the United States. Titled Electrified Shadow Pictures: Alexandre Estrela in 16 & semi-16mm, the program surveys work in which celluloid figures in Estrela’s experimentation. This emphasis nods to the artist’s deep investment in avant-garde cinema but—as with the research in cognitive science, geology, cybernetics, and philosophy that inflects his practice—Estrela expands his field of study into new sites of perception.
The program is anchored by Estrela’s early masterwork Viagem ao Meio (2010). Created in a tunnel carved into the base of a volcano in the Azores islands, the work’s superimposed projections present dual traces: a cameraless film made through direct exposure of a 16mm reel unwound from the middle of the tunnel to its entrance, and a first-person video recording the entirety of the underground crossing. Estrela’s experimental travelogue is fueled by a play of inversion and symmetry: “The film provides an indexical and metric reading of the video; whilst the video provides a vanishing point to the structuralist light experience of the film…. When the reel comes to an end in the middle of the video’s journey, the film is played in reverse.”
Usually presented as a gallery installation, this theatrical iteration of the work is punctuated by three short films that take the viewer inside the apparatus of image-making. The marathon evening culminates in a conversation between Estrela, his collaborator Marco Bene, and Sophie Cavoulacos, associate curator in MoMA’s Department of Film.
- Dianying. 2007. Portugal. Directed by Alexandre Estrela. 16mm. 3 min.
- Viagem ao Meio [part 1]. 2010. Portugal. Directed by Alexandre Estrela. 16mm and video double projection. 60 min.
- Filme Mudo. 2007. Portugal. Directed by Alexandre Estrela. 16mm. 3 min.
- Viagem ao Meio [part 2]. 2010. Portugal. Directed by Alexandre Estrela. 16mm and video double projection. 60 min.
- Inversão Polar. 2011. Portugal. Directed by Alexandre Estrela. 16mm. 3 min.
Program approx. 129 min.