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Curatorship: Adelaide Ginga

There are things that grab our attention despite no one else seeing them, imprinting themselves on our retinas and lingering in our memory, becoming engraved on our unconscious, awakening desire. This is what happened to Márcio Vilela seven years ago, when he looked up to the heavens and suddenly glimpsed a bright spot moving slowly along its path, tracing a line against the deep black of the sky, only to disappear just as quickly about a minute later. His realisation that this was no simple star sparked an interest in artificial satellites.

The concept of a simple physical line gave body to the artistic project Satellites, initiated in 2012. Part of the result is now presented in this exhibition, organised into three groups. The first group brings together a set of pieces that introduce and provide a context for the project, with the highlight on the primordial drawing Origin, from 2012, which features a simple white line on a small black piece of paper. The artist produced this drawing in response to the question: “Might it be possible to use satellites orbiting Earth as a tool for drawing, through the medium of photography?“

The second set consists of a series of photographs taken by Márcio Vilela of various satellites in orbit. The striking magnification performed by the artist results in anamorphic images in which the inevitable abstraction does not preclude us from making out three-dimensional objects more than 2,000 km from Earth. At the same time, a video is shown in a static shot, with the drawing of a green line towards the Polar Star, the only fixed star in the celestial sky.

The third and final part invites viewers to immerse in the space.  Having accepted the challenge, the spectator ends up being ‘transported’ into the part of space travelled over the course of the project. This space has a poetic dimension to it, thanks to the sublimation of a minimal aesthetic, which values the subtle details. By exploring the dichotomy between representation and abstraction, and between what is virtual and what is real, Márcio Vilela forges an artistic path that fosters dialogue between art and technology, making the satellite a point of connection and converting it into a tool at the service of drawing, one of mankind’s most ancient and primordial means of communication.

Adelaide Ginga



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