press release

Horsecross Arts is delighted to present Portuguese Waves – the finale of a five-part ten-month series of new exclusive commissions, acquisitions, exhibitions and events at Perth's Threshold artspace celebrating the contemporary art of Portugal. Featured are thirteen works by Joana Bastos (b. Lisbon in 1979 where she lives and works), Mauro Cerqueira (b. Guimarães in 1982. Lives and works in Porto) and Susana Mendes Silva (b. Lisbon in 1972. Lives and works in London and Lisbon). This triple solo exhibition follows the artists' research in Perth and their first solo presentations in a public institution in the United Kingdom at the artspace. All works are showing as curated loops at nine of the different 'project rooms' of the artspace including:

Threshold Wave – an area of 22 flat, 40-inch screens all in a row dominating the artspace: Ritual #2 (2006-10) Susana Mendes Silva In this multi-channel video the personal-confessional statement 'My obsession leads to compulsion' is written over and over again until it becomes illegible and the paper is violently perforated. The repetition, both in the act of writing and in the dynamic flow along the wave of screens, transforms writing into drawing evoking the school punishment of copying the same lines ad infinitum.

Looking at the city (2010) Mauro Cerqueira A journey of discovery where the artist's hometown of Porto is both appreciated and critiqued. From sprawling touristic panoramas to close-up shots of the ancient city centre, this work mirrors the movement from the periphery to the centre of the wave of screens. Capturing the fading glory of Porto, the artist also comments on the negative impact of local politics and the proliferation of cultural tourism.

Entertainment (2010) Joana Bastos Testing our understanding of 'entertainment', Bastos strings a chain of associations using words which relate directly to the artspace itself, to the exhibition context, to the community, the city, the county and the country. Her choice of colours refers to the motorway alert signs which, in the context of the wide open public site of the artspace, could be both amusing and exasperating.

Threshold Welcome - an area of 16 sensors and 8 speakers at the entrance of the artspace: The Foreigners (2010) Mauro Cerqueira This field recording was performed by Cerqueira while shooting his artist's film O Salto - Serin and Rich (the Jump...) also included in the exhibition. Who are 'the foreigners' who dare to imitate the children of Porto in their river jumping?

Words in My Mind, Words in Your Mind (2009-10) Susana Mendes Silva This audio installation has voiceover at its heart, originating from a collection of statements about common psychological disorders. Some of these utterances derive from the scientific description of symptoms, and others from the description of states of mind from diagnosed (or undiagnosed) people.

Threshold Stage Screen – a public interface for artists' works which also appear on the dedicated artspace YouTube Channel To the Bone (2010) Mauro Cerqueira A portrait of a man exploring old graves in a recently unearthed cemetery in the historic UNESCO-protected area of Porto designated to be destroyed and transformed into luxury hotels and apartments.

Polaroid (2004) Susana Mendes Silva A self-portrait of the artist as instances of detachment, disembodiment and dematerialization. The portrait gradually and mysteriously emerges from the pure white void, simulating the process of a developing Polaroid photograph. However, we are denied eye contact with the artist and, in a way, the void remains.

Did I Hurt You? (2006) Susana Mendes Silva Departing from the most simple unit of drawing and geometry - the point - this video work portrays the brutal act of perforation. The use of a pin that trespasses and pierces irreversibly a sheet of paper is as much a violent as a beautiful scene to watch.

Norie-Miller Studio – a black box for single-channel artists' films and videos. Also showing at Threshold Plasma Screen facing Mill Street: One Shift Smile (After Line Manager Instructions) (2008) Joana Bastos An artist's solo performance for camera in response to the body language requirements inscribed in the job descriptions of hostesses. We are confronted with a professional smile whose fakeness and theatricality can only be detected through its unnatural length. A playful, face to face game of endurance.

O Salto - Serin and Rich | The Jump - Serin and Rich (2008) Mauro Cerqueira This work offers an experience of role-reversal while commenting on the limits of urban sub-cultures such as river jumping in exchange for donations from the tourists. Built in 1886, the bridge over the Douro River was designed by one of the co-workers of the Eiffel Tower and has since turned out to be Porto's ex-libris.

Babysitting (2010) Joana Bastos The artist stars as an au-pair in this documentary photograph taken by the mother of the child Bastos was looking after. The low quality of this cinematic image, captured by a disposable camera, is deliberately left untouched to reveal the instantaneous wonder and enigmatic glamour of fun fairs.

Threshold Flush – a distributed area of flat screens with one in each of the eight public toilets: You Look Lovely Today (2009-10) Susana Mendes Silva This ultra-minimalistic, text-based artist's video might make us smile, feel better, and even look at the screen as a mirror, allowing us to adjust, or even remove, the mask of perfection.

Kitchen Notes (2007-2010) Joana Bastos Using established social behaviours to examine both the absurdities as well as the boredom of some job roles – such as being a nanny – the artist reflects on daily chores and the human condition. This text-based work is also a comment on the distance between the employer and the artist who are communicating with each other via written kitchen notes.

The exhibition Portuguese Waves is accompanied by three new issues of Read More – Horsecross Arts journal of critical writing (ISSN 1755-0866 Online) to be published later in 2010. Newly commissioned essays by Jenny Brownrigg, Chris Byrne, Neil Mulholland will explore Bastos, Cerqueira and Mendes Silva's new works in relation to their oeuvre to date.

Produced by the artists, curators and Horsecross Arts for Threshold artspace in partnership with 55degrees, Glasgow. Supported by the Calouste Gulbenkain Foundation, Instituto Camões Portugal of Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Scottish Arts Council.

Launched in September 2005, Threshold artspace is about positioning Perth and Scotland within the contemporary art world through curating, commissioning, producing, exhibiting, publishing and collecting bold contemporary art by Scottish and international artists. Pioneered and managed by Horsecross Arts and core funded by the Scottish Arts Council and Perth and Kinross Council. Admission free. Open Monday to Saturday, 10am until 6pm or late on performance evenings. 
 Horsecross Arts is an independent agency delivering cultural activities at Threshold artspace, Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre. Threshold artspace and Perth Concert Hall sit on the site of the original Horsecross – Perth's 17th century horse market. The name is synonymous with bustling regeneration activity in the heart of the city, which in 2010 celebrates the 800th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Burgh Charter to Perth by King William the Lion of Scotland in 1210.

only in german

Joana Bastos, Mauro Cerqueira, Susana Mendes Silva
Kuratoren: Iliyana Nedkova, Filipa Oliveira