Edited by Documenta
Texts by Chrissie Iles, Delfim Sardo, João Pedro Amorim, Kerry Brougher, Nuno Crespo
English / Portuguese
360 pages, colour
Hardcover, 18 x 25,5 cm
The title of this book has a word that shouldn't be there: complete. Because Julião Sarmento's work will never be complete. As long as there are people who look at his paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, and films his work will continue.
"Since the beginning of his career, in 1967, film has occupied a central place in the investigation carried out by Julião Sarmento on the repressed impulses of the psyche. Sarmento's relationship with film began at a critical moment in the history of cinema, when the severe laws on obscenity were about to collapse, at the end of a decade guided by the liberation of the erotic impulse. Throughout Europe and the United States, the development of a vital experimental and independent cinema was challenging the dominance of Hollywoodesque models of fantasy and desire. In Portugal, the left-wing political revolution was about to overthrow the Salazar regime, leading to a radical new wave of cinema addressing issues of social emancipation. In the art world, the traditional boundaries between film and other art forms had been loosened by artists who embraced film as part of their process-based art practice."
"Much of Sarmento's subject matter, and his approach to art-making, is found in this simple early film: the focus on women, sexuality, and objectification; the monochromatic wall as blank canvas (which would be incorporated into his White Paintings two decades later); the fusion between the body and the background; and, above all, the amplification of the medium itself to neutralize cinematic illusions and open up the meaning of the image. This approach is used by Sarmento in many of his earlier films. In Faces (1976), Sarmento focuses on tongues touching, a sensual act that, viewed repeatedly with an uncomfortable degree of detail, loses its erotic aura and becomes a study of movement and anatomy. In Shadow, from the same year, the lighting slowly varies over two naked women, turning the erotic image into a chiaroscuro study."