A Linha Está Ocupada


CITA, Arraiolos

The Line is Busy

the line is busy ... presents works by Alexandre Camarao, Ana Jotta, Mumtazz, Pedro Barateiro and Tomás Cunha Ferreira. These are artists who explore in their work different practices such as sound, video, writing, drawing, textiles, sculpture, painting or even performance.

The heterogeneity of elements that constitute textiles: the diversity of threads used in their construction - the very structure, composition, their organicity and portability, as well as the capacity to adapt to any form, body, function or support, often acting as a second skin, make them a complex, hybrid, stimulating and contemporary material.

In this exhibition, we did not intend to produce a body of theory on textiles, or their affirmation in the field of art. Rather, we set out to make a journey through the line, an essential material in textile production, thinking of it in its most diverse forms, symbolic or not, use and meaning. In almost everything there are lines: lines of escape, of articulation. They can be both geometric and organic. We are constantly generating lines, we are crossed by lines, we communicate through lines. They are part of our life, even when they are invisible.

Ana Jotta thinks the line as if it was taken for a walk and so, using the Arraiolos stitch, she inscribes it in the landscape as we can see in "Parti chercher du white spirit ( Walter Swennen )"; Barateiro transforms it into words, as can be heard in the sound piece “Aprender de Cor”, through the voice of Lula Pena, or in Relaxed Geometry, which presents it in an organic way, loose, without tension, contrary to the usual rigidity of geometric lines, in an open critique of the hegemony of the straight line so present in Western thought; In “Relance”, by Alexandre Camarao, it is thread, text, image, sound; equally, the line by Mumtazz unfolds and creates a whole cosmology of forms and figures, connected among themselves, in constant communication and through which, the artist, like a Sherazade, enchants us with her stories; finally, we see it in “Eye Liner” by Cunha Ferreira becoming autonomous and sculptural; submitting itself to the point, vibrant, in tension, acquiring variations, specific sonorities as if it were a score.

In almost all these works the strong analogy between text and textiles and the intimate relationship that exists between language and image is evident. For Tim Ingold, the same gesture and the same line are present in the making of the writer, the musician, the weaver, or even the one who draws. In his comparative anthropology of thread, Ingold notes that textile and text are words with the same epistemological origin, from the Latin texere . He refers to this movement from left to right, from top to bottom, as the thread unfurls and fills the surface it travels over, leaving behind a whole ballast of lines, drawings, words, musical notes. And he recalls that in 15th century Europe, hand books were called texture. What was sought in this exhibition was to bring together artists with a multiform practice in which the 'complex linear system' referred to by Anni Albers could be explored and even extended. If the line connects, because it goes from one point to another, with stops, interruptions, bending over itself, creating shapes and contours, it can also divide, as in the case of borders where a line delimits belonging, society, culture and identity, as happens in Francis Alys' well-known work, Green Line.

In an increasingly wireless world, where the expression, the line is busy, has become obsolete, perhaps it makes sense to ask ourselves how we communicate. We have enhanced communication and got rid of wires (except for chargers). We communicate better, more often, with more diversity, we use image, text, video and we can even keep different communications simultaneously. But ironically, this world without wires also grabs us, holds us, invades us. We are even forced to communicate, even without wanting to. Could it be that wires have really disappeared?

Benedita Pestana


Alexandre Camarao
Ana Jotta
Pedro Barateiro
Tomás Cunha Ferreira

photos: Bruno Lopes