As primas da Bulgária

Carla Filipe

The first solo exhibition in Italy by Portuguese artist Carla Filipe.

24.10.2012 - 30.11.2012

@Frigoriferi Milanesi

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Carla Filipe (Aveiro, Portugal, 1973) is one of Portugal’s most interesting and singular artists of this mo- ment, whose work is gaining a widening interest on the international art scene after her participation in Manifesta8 (Murcia, 2010). As primas da Bulgària (part 1) is the very first preview of Filipe’s research project initiated early 2012.

Filipe’s art practice is anchored in drawing and often based on autobiographical events and memories as well as on sociopolitical circumstances and developments related to specific locations. As primas da Bulgària (the title consists of a play of words as Primas may refer to materials as well as to personal relatives) takes as its starting point the event of the artist’s two cousins leaving for Bulgaria right after the end of the ‘Salazarian’ dictatorship and the revolution of 25 April 1974. It seems that many students, sons and daughters of the formerly repressed communist party in Portugal, undertook studies in the communist countries of the European ‘Eastern block’ after the so-called Carnation revolution in Portugal.

In the absence of any information or documentation on this matter in general, the artist has started a long and personal research to reconstruct the motives and reasons for this movement of people toward the eastern block for education. The research focusses specifically on Bulgaria a country which boasted a tradition of hospitality to students from other nations with a communist orientation – and which was her families country of choice in 1977. As primas da Bulgària (part1) represents the proceedings of the artist’s research so far in the form of drawings, textiles and documents.
Inherent in the presentation of the project is the specific methodology the artist has adopted for the work. The scarce availability of documentation and the difficult access to certain archives have constricted the artist to search for a precise approach, or methodology, to address the topic. Conscious of the fact that she isn’t a journalist or sociologist Filipe opts for a rhizomatic form of investigation; the object of investigation branches off and multiplies, as the foucauldian dispositif, which functions as an ensemble in space and time producing, tying together, operating by means of relations in a network that connects points – elements that may seem irrelevant or even contradictory – and that intersects with its own skein.

The archive – historical, personal, or other – is ever more present in contemporary art practice. As a container and assembling place for knowledge, history and memory, Filipe uses the archive to condense an interest in history and personal memories, that gives access to concrete facts and allows for the setting up of visceral relations with an other space and an other time, to reconstruct an (other) more or less truthful history, and to confront with the mechanisms of knowledge transmission.

As such As primas da Bulgària implies that to connect the transformations of individual behaviours to those of the society is to pave the way for new forms and understandings of subjectivity.

Installation views by Andrea Rossetti.
Opening pictures by Kunstverein