“The home, as the man, can die.” The words echo in the Galeria Jaqueline Martins space, filled with Lais Myrrha’s soothing voice. She reads from the 1947 text, “In Europe, man’s home has collapsed,” by iconic architect Lina Bo Bardi, her narration recorded on a square, transparent piece of vinyl, labeled “B side.” We turn the record over just to find another B side, now playing Walter Benjamin’s 1931 essay “The destructive character,” a male voice reading it in German.
The record player is on the gallery’s second floor, where we also find the work that shares its title with the show, “The interminable instant,” a video projection where newspaper cutouts of explosion scenes follow one another.
The photos are so magnified, and the transition is made in such a manner that it takes some time for the eye to adapt and to understand that these images aren’t abstractions. When it does, the reticular aspect of the journalistic print reminds us of a materiality long gone, both of the paper and of the collapsed construction. Facing it are four backlights where other cutouts lose a bit of their visibility to gain other meanings through the simple procedure of lighting them from behind: the paper gets translucid, and what was once separated into two distinct sides, front and back, is now simultaneous, creating random and yet eloquent readings, revealing the inevitable connection of apparently dissociated facts.
Heading back to the ground floor, Bo Bardi’s words add one more layer of meaning to the installation “Two bedrooms.” The first bedroom is no more; its structure, walls and contents turned into a huge pile of debris, condensed and covered in cement. In the exhibition plan, we read “rubble from a demolished and fossilized dormitory.” We stare then at a fossil that, unlike others so named, did not take thousands of years to be formed, nor is it found in the subterranean world; on the contrary, it was born prematurely old and rests in the surface of history. The second bedroom is by its side, in a blueprint where all other elements have been erased. As on the second floor, the artist manages to turn distinct temporalities into simultaneity; in this case, merging the time of the project, a hopeful and future-oriented plan, and of the ruin, the contemporization of a long-gone project. Maybe it’s by the overlapping of pasts, presents and futures, in all directions and senses, that we reach the interminable instant.
Through September 19, Galeria Jaqueline Martins, R. Dr. Virgílio de Carvalho Pinto 74, São Paulo