entry: General Conditions

{ Untitled (N’en finit Plus) }

João Onofre

Curatorship: Paulo Henriques

The gaze travels along the ground and rises to see a young woman, standing and singing, with her arms at her sides. We see that she is fragile, with all her being poured into the act of singing, almost in a kind of despair.

The gaze moves away, and the singer is left alone at the bottom of a void, a tomb-like memory. Her voice fades into the distance, and the earth becomes lush green grass, then darkness, and then the night sky. Everything begins again: "n'en finit plus".

The gaze follows a straight line as it runs close to the ground, before opening up to the grass and turning to the infinite in the sky. There it hangs, observing and listing to the young woman, and moving further away so that she becomes tiny within her/our tomb-like, universal isolation.

Although she has disappeared from the image, the singer remains in the solemn silence that gradually sets in as the gaze moves further away, towards the sky.

The song is an enchanting, timeless lament. One hears it even when it has fallen silent, repeating the words of the song La nuit n’en finit plus, which Petula Clark wrote and sang to the melody of a Searchers song, Needles and pins, from 1964.

João Onofre has devised a theatrical situation – the place, the character and the words of the song. He has mapped out how the gaze travels – from the earth to the singer, and then once again from the earth, now green, to the sky. With this careful and austere cinematic composition he offers us a forlorn vision of the individual within the world, through the anguished sincerity of a young woman.

Paulo Henriques

MNAC Director