We are in the multiple “Indian summers” that autumn characterizes in this part of Portugal. We harvested the oranges and are waiting for the olives.
But even more fruitful were the artistic creations. This newsletter gives some highlights from the past months. Earlier residencies are mentioned on the 2023 page.
Our residents in October were Jil Guyon (dance performer), Yval Gilboa (musician), Lizzy Roberts (writer), Jane Flatt (poet), Bianca Ludewig (scientist), Veronica Syrotkina (painter), Aurelie Ferriere (musician), Lizzie Roberts (writer), Holen Kahn (film maker, writer), Mareike Alexander (visual arts) and Annemie Boogaerts (visual artist).
In November OBRAS was closed, but Kevin and Sara Tolman combined making their art with caring for the house and cats.
In November, Kevin and Sara Tolman (USA) were taking care of our house, cats and garden. In the same time, they worked on their art. Kevin made a series of collages, in which he included traces of printed matter (pieces of journals, product labels, packaging paper, …). In most cases they were hardly visible through a transparent layer of paint: the viewer has a lot to discover.
Sara emerged herself in nature, especially to find out what trees do with her mind. Every day she chose one tree to photograph and to hug. She also made a nice lino cut that showed her fascination with trees.
Until 1 November, Rob Monaghan (Ireland) had an exhibition: MOVING MARBLE, in the fortress of Evoramonte. The exhibition was dedicated to the abandoned marble quarries in the Estremoz region.
Since 2017 Rob had five residencies at OBRAS. It resulted in several collaborations with other residents and five exhibitions or video screening in Portugal, Ireland, USA and Spain. MOVING MARBLE shows mostly new work, including a 3D video. A brochure was made starting with the following introduction:
In Less than a century, humans have dug their way into marble rock that has been created over millions of years. Three decades ago, they vacated most of these excavated sites, leaving deep cavernous holes often resembling lunar craters or inverted cathedrals. Hesitantly, nature returns, sometimes in the form of a tiny tree, sometimes as a lush paradise.
Knight, explorer and artist, armed with only curiosity: Robert Monaghan sought contact with this unknown world.
In this exhibition he shows his findings, his feelings and his vision, using video, photo and sound installations.
During his artistic residencies at Foundation OBRAS in Evoramonte, Rob Monaghan started collaborative projects with several artists. Two have become part of this exhibition: a video of a dance performance in an abandoned quarry by Phyllis Akinyi and a composition of quarry sounds by Alëna Korolëva.
I Am All Things. Video of a dance performance by Phyllis Akinyi (8 minutes)
Phyllis Akinyi lives in Denmark and has roots in Kenya. This video is an exploration of an artist entering the realm of surrender and being guided by the energy of the quarry site. This concept was discussed by Phyllis Akinyi and Rob Monaghan pre-shoot. They worked mostly in silence and meditation throughout the day being only guided by feeling and intuition. Resulting works are an honest portrayal of artist surrendering to nature. (www.phyllisakinyi.com)
Marble Tour. A sound scape by Alëna Köroleva (35 minutes)
This piece is a cumulation of site-specific audio found in and around the quarry site areas.
Alëna Köroleva is a Russian sound artist based in Canada who had a residency at OBRAS in 2022. Her collaboration with Rob Monaghan was born out of both artists working on the same sites at the same time in different mediums. The combined work creates a tapestry of sound and visual experience that aims bringing the essence of the quarry sites to the viewer. (https://alenakoroleva.com)
Ruth Baettig (performer; Switzerland), Beate Schnaithmann (cellist; Germany) and Giuseppe di Salvatore (philosopher; Italy) are currently all living in Switzerland. During their residency they were working on a long-term project: “Ich habe mich verloren”. The idea is that losing yourself can be a starting point, a pearl, an opportunity to find yourself in a reality previously unknown. The risk of getting lost is a chance to really be there on earth. The project also considers the place of the human in the Anthropocene, and what the links are between human, animal, vegetation and non-living matter.
Their joint residency was a burst of creativity. An obvious highlight was a performance 70 meters deep in an abandoned marble quarry in the light of the full moon. While Ruth, dressed in a black “skin”, was making minimal movements, Beate was improvising on “La Folia”, a motive from the Baroque period. Other site-specific performances were in a cork oak plantation and around the residency. The slide show gives a first impression. The artists made a beautiful »» video compilation «« of their project.
The project will get a follow up in September, during a several-weeks voyage from Switzerland to Portugal.
Apart from the project with Ruth Baettig and Giuseppe di Salvatore, Beate several other activities during her six-weeks residency. She went a quarry to play her cello, only accompanied by birds and frogs, and after a while fish who could not hide their curiosity. Beate also continued her collaboration with Mauro Dilema (piano), with the intention to give concerts, provisionally scheduled for next year. Moreover, she had a life performance with Mario Moroni (see residents 2023), played with Peter van Huffel (saxophone) and was rehearsing for concerts in Switzerland, scheduled for the next months.