Espello negro

Rita Magalhães

Espello negro / Rita Magalhães


The source of pure gaze

Rita Magalhães’s photography has been, since its beginning almost two decades ago, permeated by an intense, excessive desire for painting. As if the artist understood that the memory of painting as a tradition of producing images has inevitably inhabited photography as a primitive scene from the very beginning. And as if, through the latter, she constantly sought to return to that first, founding, original scene.

Thus, this gaze of the artist goes around the world, looking around her, curious as that of a child who seeks in each thing its most secret sign, the door that opens to a few, the discreet warning that something is approaching and it can be seen in the distance, tender and violent at the same time, as in the half-opening of the eyelids after sleep, but before waking up.

Such a look is hardly seen, it goes unnoticed. Not even when it is projected, as here, suddenly elucidating another meaning for the images. It passes silently between things and barely lands on them, hardly touches them, only feels its presence and surprises it, making it tactile, visible, under a scattered light that reveals everything it hides. Such a look restores their mystery to things, it doesn’t want them drawn and clear, or abstract, but rather full of symbolism and distance, operating as agents of metamorphosis. Transfigure.

That is why the cities she sees have distances, lights, gold dust, a mist that dissolves the contours of things like the humidity that rises from the sea or the river, and that seems to transform them as if they were under the diffuse light of some apparition. The cities melt, hallucinatory they almost melt, their characters are liquid and go through them as if they lost the form of wholeness in them. And the light itself is a blanket that spreads under the gaze. There are no contours but colors, stains, dull reverberations of light and atmosphere under an enigmatic prism. And in the age of photography, Rita Magalhães paints with her photographs without seeing any problem, but on the contrary, because on a more intimate plane, which is that of the image, nothing differentiates painting from photography, rather one echoes the other…

Bernardo Pinto de Almeida