Lourdes Castro, Todos os Livros (Catálogo comprovado)

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EXPOSIÇÃO | EXHIBITION Biblioteca de Arte | Art Library

COORDENAÇÃO GERAL | CENTRAL COORDINATION

Ana Paula Gordo (Diretora)

F U N D A Ç Ã O C A LO U S T E G U L B E N K I A N S E RV I Ç O S C E N T R A I S | D E PA RT M E N T O F C E N T R A L S E RV I C E S

COMISSÁRIO | CURATOR

Paulo Pires do Vale COMISSARIADO EXECUTIVO | EXECUTIVE COORDINATION

Ana Barata APOIO ADMINISTRATIVO | ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT

José Sousa e Silva CAM – Rosário Lourenço Museu Gulbenkian – Sónia Brito Serv. Sistemas de Informação – Joana Sousa

AUDIOVISUAIS | AUDIOVISUALS

Clemente Cuba LUMINOTECNIA | LIGHTING

Manuel Mileu SEGUROS – LOGÍSTICA – TRANSPORTE | INSURANCE – LOGISTICS – TRANSPORT

Paulo Gregório PROJETO MUSEOGRÁFICO E COORDENAÇÃO TÉCNICA | MUSEOGRAPHY AND INSTALLATION COORDINATION

CAM – Cristina Sena da Fonseca APOIO TÉCNICO | TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Constança Rosa Halyne Pacheco Marco Mesquita

MONTAGEM | INSTALLATION

Construções Martins Sampaio, Lda. DIVULGAÇÃO | COMMUNICATION

Serviço de Comunicação VÍDEOS | VIDEOS

Márcia Lessa DESIGN GRÁFICO | GRAPHIC DESIGN

CAM – Pedro Leitão INSTALAÇÃO GRÁFICA | GRAPHIC INSTALLATION

CAM – Paulo Santos EQUIPA DE MONTAGEM DO CAM | CAM INSTALLATION CREW

Carlos Catarino Carlos Gonçalinho José António Oliveira EMPRESTADORES | LENDERS

Bibliothèque Nationale de France (p. 55) Coleção E.H. (p. 154) Coleção Helder Macedo (pp. 100-101) Coleção João Esteves de Oliveira (pp. 74-79) Coleção Manuel Alvess (pp. 104-105) Coleção Manuel de Brito (pp. 14-15; 96-97) Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea (pp. 102-103; 135) Lourdes Castro (todas as obras sem referência são da coleção da artista | In the absence of indication otherwise, all works belong to the colletion of the artist)

na página anterior: Lourdes Castro e Manuel Zimbro, Ligne d’horizon (Théâtre d’ombres), Berlim, 1981. Lourdes Castro folheando o seu livro Ombres transparentes (1967). Fotografia de Claire Turyn.


C AT Á L O G O | C ATA LO G U E

COORDENAÇÃO EDITORIAL | EDITORIAL COORDINATION

Ana Barata Manuel Rosa Paulo Pires do Vale TEXTOS | TEXTS

Johanna Drucker José Luís Porfírio Paulo Pires do Vale DESCRIÇÃO BIBLIOGRÁFICA | BIBLIOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTION

Ana Barata DESIGN E CONCEÇÃO GRÁFICA | DESIGN AND GRAPHIC CONCEPT

Este livro foi publicado por ocasião da exposição «Todos os Livros», de Lourdes Castro, com curadoria de Paulo Pires do Vale, realizada pela Biblioteca de Arte da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, na Galeria de exposições temporárias do Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, de 9 de julho a 26 de outubro de 2015 This book was published on the occasion of the exhibition “All the Books”, by Lourdes Castro, curated by Paulo Pires do Vale and produced by the Biblioteca de Arte da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian’s Gallery of temporary exhibitions, from July 9 to October 26, 2015

Lourdes Castro Manuel Rosa FOTOGRAFIA | PHOTOGRAPHY

Carlos Azevedo BNF (p. 55) REVISÃO | PROOFREADING

Helena Roldão

© Lourdes Castro, 2015 © Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Avenida de Berna, 45-A 1067-001 Lisboa © Sistema Solar Crl (Documenta) Rua Passos Manuel, 67-B 1150-258 Lisboa

TRADUÇÃO | TRANSLATION

Helena Roldão José Roseira TRATAMENTO DE IMAGEM | IMAGE EDITING

Gráfica Maiadouro SA TIRAGEM | EDITION OF

800 exemplares | copies DEPÓSITO LEGAL | LEGAL DEPOSIT

399798/15 IMPRESSÃO | PRINTING

Gráfica Maiadouro SA Rua Padre Luís Campos, 586 e 686 (Vermoim) 4471-909 Maia, Portugal

ISBN 978-972-95323-6-8 (FCG) ISBN 978-989-8618-78-8 (Sistema Solar / Documenta)



lourdes castro TODOS OS LIVROS catálogo comprovado ALL THE BOOKS catalogue raisonné

organização | editors

Paulo Pires do Vale Ana Barata textos | texts

Paulo Pires do Vale Johanna Drucker José Luís Porfírio

|

d o c u m e n ta


Lourdes Castro, Que lês Maria Alice?, Lisboa, 1956, 55 × 71 cm, óleo sobre madeira. Coleção da artista.


Apresentação

Ao longo da sua carreira, iniciada na década de 1950, quando veio estudar para a Escola Superior de Belas-Artes de Lisboa, Lourdes Castro (Funchal, 1930) desenvolveu uma obra singular, fruto do seu modo sensível de olhar o mundo. Depois de Lisboa, a artista viveu noutras cidades como Paris e Berlim, antes de regressar, nos anos 1980, à sua ilha natal. Nesses anos, em que conviveu com outros artistas, portugueses como René Bertholo, José Escada, Costa Pinheiro e João Vieira, e estrangeiros como Jan Voss, Christo, Pierre Alechinsky, Alberto Greco e Robert Filliou, Lourdes Castro foi aprofundando o seu interesse pelos atributos plásticos da sombra, testando as suas capacidades físicas e poéticas através da utilização de técnicas e materiais como a serigrafia, o plexiglas, o rodhoïd e o tecido. Não é a primeira vez que a Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian se dedica à obra de Lourdes Castro. Pensamos, todavia, que esta exposição se reveste de aspetos inéditos, uma vez que nela se aborda a obra da artista através de (quase) todos os livros que realizou desde 1956, revelando a importância deste suporte e da palavra nas suas experimentações estéticas. A exposição «Lourdes Castro. Todos os livros» e o catálogo que agora se apresenta não teriam sido possíveis sem o apoio generoso e caloroso que Lourdes Castro prestou desde o início. À artista agradecemos por nos ter disponibilizado os seus livros e as suas memórias sobre eles, e por nos ter permitido mostrar, pela primeira vez, o surpreendente livro Un autre livre rouge (I e II ), realizado nos anos 1970, em parceria com Manuel Zimbro, a propósito do Livro Vermelho de Mao Tsé-Tung, tão em voga por aqueles anos. Paulo Pires do Vale foi o curador da exposição e contribuiu decisivamente para ela com a sua investigação e a inteligente cumplicidade com a obra de Lourdes Castro. O catálogo — que Lourdes Castro deseja que «comprove» todos os seus livros de artista — foi desenhado e teve a coordenação gráfica de Manuel Rosa e por isso lhe ficamos gratos. Agradecemos ainda a todos os que, com cedência de documentação ou de outros modos, contribuíram para a sua realização.

Teresa Patrício Gouveia administradora

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Presentation

Throughout her career, which began in the 1950s, when she arrived in Lisbon to study at the Escola Superior de Belas-Artes de Lisboa, Lourdes Castro (Funchal, 1930) has developed a singular body of work, the fruit of her sensitive manner of observing the world around her. Following her studies in Lisbon, the artist lived in other cities, such as Paris and Berlin, before returning to her native island in the 1980s. During these years abroad interacting with other artists, compatriots such as René Bertholo, José Escada, Costa Pinheiro and João Vieira, as well as international artists such as Jan Voss, Christo, Pierre Alechinsky, Alberto Greco and Robert Filliou, she deepened her interest in the graphic qualities of shadows, expanding her physical and poetic capacities through the utilization of various techniques and materials such as silkscreen, Plexiglas, acetate, and textiles. This is not the first occasion in which the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation commemorates the work of Lourdes Castro. We may consider, however, that this exhibition is marked by a unique characteristic, seeing as it approaches her work by compiling all of the artist’s books she has created since 1956, revealing the importance of the book and the written word in her aesthetic experiments. The exhibition “Lourdes Castro. Todos os livros” and the catalog here presented, would not have been possible without the generous and warm support that the artist herself has provided since the very beginning. It is to her whom we owe thanks for having made available her books and her memories surrounding them, and for permitting us to share, for the first time the surprising work Un autre livre rouge ( I and II), created in the 1970s, in collaboration with Manuel Zimbro, a reference to The Little Red Book by Mao Zedong, which was so in vogue during those years. Paulo Pires do Vale was the curator and contributed decisively to the exhibition with his scholarship and intelligent complicity with the work of Lourdes Castro. This catalog—which Lourdes Castro hopes will “prove” the existence of all her artist’s books—was designed and graphically coordinated by Manuel Rosa and for this we would like to express our gratitude. We would also like to express our appreciation to all of the friends and collectors who, through providing documentation or otherwise, have helped contribute to the realization of this exhibit.

Teresa Patrício Gouveia administrator

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A Biblioteca de Arte tem colaborado com diferentes projetos expositivos ao longo da sua história. Sempre nos pareceu, contudo, que em torno das suas tão significativas coleções patrimoniais seria de todo o interesse mostrá-las ao público, numa organização coerente e significativa. Esta necessidade tornou-se mais compreensível a partir do momento em que a Biblioteca de Arte começou a desenvolver, consistentemente, quer através da compra, quer da oferta de artistas, uma coleção de livros de artista que tem como enfoque as obras criadas por artistas portugueses contemporâneos, tanto consagrados como jovens emergentes. A exposição que agora se apresenta, «Lourdes Castro. Todos os livros», reúne os livros que a artista realizou desde 1956 até ao presente, muitos deles expostos agora pela primeira vez. Esta escolha da Biblioteca de Arte para realizar a sua primeira exposição vem, por um lado, dar continuação a uma ligação entre Lourdes Castro e a Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian que remonta à década de 1950, quando à artista foi atribuída uma das primeiras bolsas de estudo concedidas pela Fundação a artistas portugueses, permitindo-lhes procurar no exterior a formação artística que em Portugal não encontravam. Representada na coleção do Centro de Arte Moderna, a obra de Lourdes Castro tem sido objeto de diversas exposições, tendo o seu Grand herbier d’ombres aí sido exposto, entre novembro de 2002 e janeiro de 2003 e, alguns anos mais tarde, no final de 2009, mostrado também em Paris, no Centre Calouste Gulbenkian. Por outro lado, o número de livros de artista que Lourdes Castro foi realizando ao longo da sua atividade demonstra bem a importância central deste medium no desenvolvimento da sua obra. Dos livros que se mostram — que pertencem, na sua maioria, à coleção particular da artista — encontram-se os primeiros que realizou, onde os seus desenhos se relacionam e iluminam a palavra dos textos de poetas como Rilke, Rimbaud, Apollinaire e Herberto Helder, e aqueles onde começou a utilizar o rodhoïd e o plexiglas, criando livros-objetos. Muitos destes livros são únicos e outros tiveram edições limitadas, feitas em serigrafia; alguns resultaram da colaboração com escritores, como Benjamin Patterson, outros ainda da recolha sobre um tema da sua predileção. Foram muitas as possibilidades que a estrutura do livro permitiu que explorasse e fica evidente, nos muitos livros que Lourdes Castro criou, o interesse e o afeto que a artista tem por este dispositivo, desde a conceção, com René Bertholo, da revista e editora KWY, até hoje. Entre os livros inéditos, é apresentado pela primeira vez, emoldurando-se individualmente as suas folhas, Un autre livre rouge, um livro feito em Paris no início dos anos 1970, em colaboração com Manuel Zimbro. Para comissariar a exposição convidámos Paulo Pires do Vale, profundo conhecedor da obra de Lourdes Castro e que, de uma forma exímia, conseguiu demonstrar como a palavra e o desenho estão indelevelmente presentes na obra da autora. A ele o nosso reconhecimento. O nosso mais profundo agradecimento a Lourdes Castro, que de imediato nos disponibilizou todas as obras, bem como a sua prodigiosa memória e arquivo pessoal, facilitando a reunião e o acesso a todos os livros espalhados por coleções institucionais e particulares, e ainda pelo constante acompanhamento dos trabalhos. Aos emprestadores o nosso reconhecimento pela forma como se associaram a esta ideia, e nos facilitaram a tarefa de reunir tão grande número de títulos. Ao editor Manuel Rosa agradecemos o entusiasmo e o empenho na realização deste catálogo. Uma vez que se trata da primeira exposição produzida pela Biblioteca de Arte, tornou-se fulcral a cooperação com outros serviços da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian que de imediato se disponibilizaram para colaborar. Referimos o apoio fundamental de Isabel Carlos, diretora do Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão e da sua equipa, de que destacaremos Cristina Sena da Fonseca, pela conceção da museografia e a supervisão da montagem, e Pedro Leitão pelo design gráfico da exposição. Do Museu Gulbenkian, o nosso agradecimento a João Carvalho Dias pela constante disponibilidade, e ao fotógrafo Carlos Azevedo pelo registo fotográfico de todas as obras, trabalho fundamental para a realização deste catálogo. O nosso agradecimento também a Elisabete Caramelo e a toda a equipa do Serviço de Comunicação e aos Serviços Centrais nos seus variados setores, mas com uma nota especial para o Paulo Gregório. Por fim, à equipa da Biblioteca de Arte pelo empenho e incentivo que sempre deram ao projeto, e muito especialmente à bibliotecária Ana Barata, infatigável na vontade de fazer desta exposição um êxito.

Ana Paula Gordo diretora da biblioteca de arte

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The Biblioteca de Arte has collaborated with several different exhibition projects throughout its history. It always seemed to us, however, that in regards to the significant patrimonial collections, they should in all interests be made public in a meaningful and coherent way. This necessity became more comprehensible starting the moment in which the Biblioteca de Arte began to develop, consistently, be it through the purchase or by artists’ donations of works, a collection of artist’s books which focuses on contemporary Portuguese artists, be they consecrated or emerging talents. The exhibition which we now present, “Lourdes Castro. Todos os livros”, reunites all of the artist’s books created by the artist since 1956 to the present, many of them being exhibited for the first time. The choice of the Biblioteca de Arte to realize its first exhibition serves to give continuity to a connection between Lourdes Castro and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which dates back to the 1950s, when she was awarded one of the first educational grants provided by the Foundation to Portuguese artists, allowing them to pursue an artistic education abroad, which was not to be found in Portugal at the time. Represented in the collection of the Centro de Arte Moderna, the work of Lourdes Castro has been the subject of various exhibitions, and her Grand herbier d’ombres was on exhibit between November 2002 and January 2003 and, some years later, at the end of 2009, shown also in Paris, in the Centre Calouste Gulbenkian. On the flipside, the sheer number of artist’s books that Lourdes Castro has been creating throughout her practice demonstrates very strongly the central importance of this medium in the development of her oeuvre. Of the books on exhibit—which, for the most part, belong to the private collection of the artist—one finds the first works which she created, wherein her drawings relate and illuminate the words of poets such as Rilke, Rimbaud, Apollinaire and Herberto Helder, and those in which she began utilizing materials such as acetate and Plexiglas in the creation of book-objects. Many of these books are one of a kind and others limited editions, created using silkscreen techniques, some resulting from collaboration with authors, such as Benjamin Patterson, others presenting a topic of her own predilection. There were innumerous possibilities afforded by the book structure which she explored and it remains evident, in the plentitude of books created by Lourdes Castro, the interest and affection the artist has shown for this format, since the founding of the magazine and publishing house KWY, alongside René Bertholo, until today. Amongst the unpublished works, it is presented for the first time, with each page individually framed, Un autre livre rouge, a book created in Paris in the early 1970s, in collaboration with Manuel Zimbro. To curate this exhibition, we invited Paulo Pires do Vale, who in his profound understanding of the work of Lourdes Castro and in an exemplary fashion, was able to demonstrate how the written word and mark-making are indelibly present in the artist’s work. Our deepest appreciation goes out to Lourdes Castro, who without hesitation made available to us the entirety of her works, as well as her prodigious memory and personal archive, facilitating the reunion and the access to all of her books which had been scattered throughout institutional and private collections, and even more so for her constant accompaniment of the entire preparation of this exhibition. To those who lent works to the exhibition, we would like to recognize the mode in which they associated themselves with this idea, and facilitated our labor in the re-collection of such a large number of publications. To the editor Manuel Rosa we appreciate the enthusiasm and drive which he brought to the production of this catalog. As this is the inaugural exhibition produced by the Biblioteca de Arte, it has been of crucial importance the cooperation with other divisions of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which from the outset were open to collaboration. We refer to the fundamental assistance of Isabel Carlos, director of the Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão, and her team, most notably Cristina Sena da Fonseca, for the conceptualization of the exhibition layout and the supervision of the installation, as well as Pedro Leitão for his contribution to the graphic design of the exhibition. From the Museu Gulbenkian, we extend our sincerest thanks to João Carvalho Dias for his constant availability, and to the photographer, Carlos Azevedo, as his skillful documentation of all of the works was a fundamental contribution to the realization of this catalog. Our appreciation also extends to Elisabete Caramelo and the entire staff of the Communication Services and the Central Services, in each of the respective sectors, with a special note of thanks to Paulo Gregório. In closing, thank you to the Biblioteca de Arte team, for their determined spirit and the incentive that they continually gave to the project, especially to our librarian, Ana Barata, who worked tirelessly in her will to make this exhibition a success.

Ana Paula Gordo director of the biblioteca de arte

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na página seguinte: Lourdes Castro, Ombres portées debout (Elke von der Forst), 1971, biblioteca em madeira recortada, Atelier A, Paris. Coleção Maryse Haerdi.



CATÁLOGO COMPROVADO Livros de Artista CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ Artist’s Books


Livro de Instrumentos de Música lisboa, 07-07-1956 [exemplar único] Capa e contracapa em cartolina preta. Com dedicatória de 1980. Coleção Julien Buri. Black card stock front and back cover. With dedication, dated 1980. Julien Buri Collection.

Um Livro de Modas lisboa, 11-07-1956 [exemplar único] 44 pp. | 15,5 × 19,5 cm Capa e contracapa em cartolina preta. Todas as folhas em papel pardo (exceto pp. 7-8 e 29-30). Colagens: recortes de revistas; amostras de tecidos; objetos (p. 3 alfinetes de dama; p. 15 dois fios de lã de cor preta; p. 22 pequenos botões brancos). Com a dedicatória escrita à mão, de 1971. Assinado e datado. Coleção Manuel de Brito. Black card stock front and back cover. All pages in Kraft paper (except p. 7-8 and 29-30). Collages: magazine cut-outs; textile samples; objects (p. 3 safety pins; p. 15 two black wool strings; p. 22 small white buttons). With handwritten dedication, dated 1971. Dated and signed. Manuel de Brito Collection.

1956

14


15

1956


Um Livro da Ilha da Madeira lisboa, 09-12-1956 [exemplar único] 38 pp. | 22,5 × 25,5 cm Capa e contracapa em cartolina preta. Texto manuscrito. Desenhos a grafite e tinta da China. Colagens: recortes, papel de lustre colorido, objetos (moedas e pano bordado «Madeira»), em folhas brancas. Datado e com impressão digital. Black card stock front and back cover. Handwritten text. Graphite and Indian ink drawings. Collages: cut-outs, colored glossy paper, objects (coins and “Madeira” embroidered cloth), in white paper sheets. Dated and with a fingerprint.

1956

16


17

1956


Calendário [lisboa, 12-1956] [exemplar único] [14] pp. | 25,5 × 33 cm 7 f. cartolina branca; em cada f. as letras: «N», «A», «M», «O», «R» e «D», acompanhadas por guaches, colados, assinados e datados. Colagens de números. Capa e contracapa em cartolina preta, com duas argolas de cordel a uni-las na lombada. 7 white card stock sheets; in each sheet the letters: “N”, “A”, “M”, “O”, “R” and “D”, accompanied by gouache paintings, glued, dated and signed. Collages with numbers. Black card stock front and back cover, with two string rings binding cover and sheets.

1956

18


19

1956


Um Livro lisboa, 14-01-1957 [exemplar único] 20 pp. | 11 × 34,5 cm Capa e contracapa em cartolina preta, protegida por uma película de papel transparente autocolante. Colagens em todas as páginas (exceto na 1 e na 20): papel de lustre, fósforos coloridos (pp. 3, 14-15 e 18-19) e recortes de revistas. Acondicionado em caixa de cartão construída manualmente, pintada a preto. Assinado e datado. Black card stock front and back cover, protected with transparent self-adhesive paper. Collages in all pages (except 1 and 20): glossy paper, colored matches (p. 3, 14-15 and 18-19) and magazine cut-outs. Wrapped in handmade cardboard box, painted in black. Dated and signed.

1957

20


21

1957


A História da Minha Flor lisboa, 28-03-1957 [exemplar único] [48] pp. | 24 × 35 cm Capa e contracapa em cartolina preta. Caderno de folhas de papel branco «manteiga»; desenhos a grafite, lápis de cor e de cera. Texto manuscrito em português; história contada com os desenhos; os poemas de Bernardim Ribeiro, Alfredo Margarido, poetas do Cancioneiro Geral, Raul de Carvalho, Luís de Camões, Goethe, Cesário Verde, Garcia Lorca e Guerra Junqueiro foram escolhidos ao acaso e são as ilustrações dos desenhos. Embrulhado em papel chiffon de cor preta e atado com fio elástico vermelho brilhante. Black card stock front and back cover. White baking paper pad; graphite, colored pencil and wax crayon drawings. Handwritten text in Portuguese; the story is narrated by the drawings; the poems by Bernardim Ribeiro, Alfredo Margarido, poets from the Cancioneiro Geral, Raul de Carvalho, Luís de Camões, Goethe, Cesário Verde, Garcia Lorca and Guerra Junqueiro were randomly chosen and illustrate the drawings. Wrapped in black chiffon paper and tied with bright red elastic cord.

edições fac-similadas Lisboa: Documenta, 2012. [48] pp.: il. color.; 10,2 × 15,5 cm. ISBN 978-989-8618-34-4. Lisboa: Documenta, 2012. [48] pp.: il. color.; 14,5 × 22 cm. ISBN 978-989-8618-33-7. Lisboa: Documenta, 2012. [48] pp.: il. color.; 20,6 × 31 cm. ISBN 978-989-8618-32-0.

1957

22


23

1957


Rainer Maria Rilke: Klage münchen, 13-05-1957 [exemplar único] [12] pp. | 15,7 × 30,5 cm 6 f. em papel branco. Texto manuscrito em alemão. Desenhos com lápis de cera. Capa e contracapa protegidas com película de plástico transparente. Assinado e datado. 6 white paper sheets. Handwritten text (German). Wax crayon drawings. Front and back cover protected with transparent plastic film. Dated and signed.

1957

24


Rainer Maria Rilke: Vom Stundenbuch münchen, 09-1957 [exemplar único] [12] pp. | 22 × 30,5 cm 14 f. papel coladas nas dobras, fazendo um efeito de serpentina; coloridas, em cores variadas, a lápis de cera; 1 p. com colagens de selos retirados de envelopes. Texto manuscrito, em alemão, extraído de Livro de Horas. Protegido por uma capa de papel vegetal. Contém uma página com a tradução realizada por Lourdes Castro em agosto de 2012: «do livro de horas r. m. rilke Amo as horas sombrias do meu ser, onde se afundam os meus sentidos; como em cartas antigas, nelas encontrei a minha vida de cada dia já vivida e em lenda bem longe e superada.» Assinado e datado. 14 paper sheets glued to produce a serpentine effect; colored with wax crayon; 1 p. with collages made from used stamps. Handwritten text (German), an excerpt from Rilke’s Book of Hours. Tracing paper book jacket. Includes a page with the translation by Lourdes Castro (August 2012): “do livro de horas r. m. rilke Amo as horas sombrias do meu ser, onde se afundam os meus sentidos; como em cartas antigas, nelas encontrei a minha vida de cada dia já vivida e em lenda bem longe e superada.” Dated and signed.

edições fac-similadas Do Livro de Horas R.M. Rilke Lisboa: Documenta, 2012. [16] pp.: il. color.; 10,2 × 15,5 cm. ISBN 978-989-8618-37-5. Lisboa: Documenta, 2012. [16] pp.: il. color.; 15,5 × 22 cm. ISBN 978-989-8618-36-8. Lisboa: Documenta, 2012. [16] pp.: il. color.; 21,7 × 30,7 cm. ISBN 978-989-8618-35-1.

25

1957


Gauguin R.M. Rilke münchen, 22-05-1957 [exemplar único] [28] pp. | 15 × 21 cm Caderno com capa de cor azul-escuro, com 14 f. brancas. Texto manuscrito, a tinta azul, intercalado com desenhos «d’après Gauguin» a tinta da China preta. Assinado e datado. Notebook with dark blue cover with 14 white sheets. Handwritten text in blue ink interspersed with India ink drawings “d’après Gauguin”. Dated and signed.

1957

26


27

1957


Joana 8 anos paris, 1958 [exemplar único] Coleção Joana Barbosa. Joana Barbosa Collection.

Paul Éluard: Sans toi paris, 1958 [exemplar único] Coleção François Simoneau. François Simoneau Collection.

Punkt und Strich und Schwarz und Weiss: Lourdes und Jan paris, 16-05-1958 [exemplar único] [20] pp. | 30 × 31 cm Capa e contracapa em cartolina grossa bege, com o título escrito com carimbo. 1.ª f. de formato menor com texto, em alemão, datilografado; 8 f. com desenhos assinados e datados. Beige pasteboard front and back cover, stamped title. Smaller 1st sheet with typed text (German); 8 sheets with dated and signed drawings.

1958

28


29

1958


Guillaume Apollinaire: Poème à Lou paris, 21-04-1958 [exemplar único] [8] pp. | 17 × 34 cm 2 f. papel de grande gramagem de cor branca; 2 f. papel artesanal de grande gramagem de cor cinzenta; 2 p. com colagens. Texto manuscrito em francês, com tinta de cor preta. Capa e contracapa de papel artesanal de grande gramagem de cor cinzenta, com um pequeno recorte de papel rosa, com a palavra «Lou». 2 sheets white high grammage paper; 2 sheets artisanal high grammage grey paper; 2 pages with collages. Text handwritten in black ink (French). Front and back cover: high grammage grey paper with a small rose paper cut-out with the word “Lou”.

1958

30


Guillaume Apollinaire: Pont Mirabeau paris, 1958 [exemplar único] 19,5 × 22 cm (aberto); 9,75 × 11 cm (fechado) Cartolina colorida à mão com lápis de cera, dobrada em quatro; três pequenos recortes de flores colados em três lados. Texto manuscrito em francês: «Sous le pont Mirabeau / coule la Seine / et nos amours / faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne / la joie venait toujours / après la peine / vienne la nuit sonne / l’heure / les jours s’en vont / je demeure». Assinado e datado. Wax crayon hand colored card stock, folded in four; three small flower cut-outs glued on three sides. Handwritten text (French): “Sous le pont Mirabeau / coule la Seine / et nos amours / faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne / la joie venait toujours / après la peine / vienne la nuit sonne / l’heure / les jours s’en vont / je demeure”. Dated and signed.

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1958


G. Ap.[ollinaire]: Nos songes paris, 1958 [exemplar único] 8 × 21,5 cm (fechado) Cartolina colorida à mão, dobrada ao meio; um recorte de uma roda de carroça colado junto ao texto. Texto manuscrito em francês: «nos songes nous rapprochent objects dans la même poche». Assinado e datado. Hand colored card stock, folded; cut-out depicting a cart wheel glued under the text. Handwritten text (French): “nos songes nous rapprochent objets dans la même poche”. Dated and signed.

1958

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Guillaume Apollinaire: Il y a paris, 1958 [exemplar único] 8 × 21,5 cm (fechado) Cartolina dobrada ao meio. Texto manuscrito em francês: «il y a les yeaux bleus / des mères inquiètes, / il y a les grands chiens / et les dieux inconnus / et la rage et le doute / et les noms des poètes / avec l’éternité des marbres toujours vus». Assinado e datado. Card stock, folded. Handwritten text (French): “il y a les yeux bleus / des mères inquiètes, / il y a les grands chiens / et les dieux inconnus / et la rage et le doute / et les noms des poètes / avec l’éternité des marbres toujours vus”. Dated and signed.

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1958


Herberto Helder paris, 1958 [8] pp. | 12 × 27 cm 2 f. papel branco de grande gramagem; 2 f. papel cinzento; 1 f. com uma pequena serigrafia original sobre papel de um jornal em hebraico, colada à página e assinada «Lurdes». Texto extraído de «Prefácio para um Dicionário de Rimas», escrito à mão e impresso em serigrafia. Assinado e datado. Edição não numerada de 12 exemplares. 2 sheets high grammage white paper; 2 sheets grey paper; 1 sheet with a small original silk print on a hebrew newsprint paper, glued to the margin and signed “Lurdes”. The text is an excerpt from “Prefácio para um Dicionário de Rimas”, handwritten and silk printed. Dated and signed. Non-numbered edition of 12.

1958

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Rimbaud paris, 05-1958 [exemplar único] [4] pp. | 8 × 21,5 cm 2 f. papel pardo; 1 p. com a letra «R» pintada a branco. Capa e contracapa em cartão protegido com película de papel transparente autocolante; capa com colagem; contraguarda posterior branca e anterior negra. Texto manuscrito a tinta preta, extraído de «Le bateau ivre», nas duas páginas centrais. Assinado e datado. 2 sheets Kraft paper; 1 page with the letter “R” painted in white. Cardboard front and back cover protected with transparent self-adhesive paper; cover with collage; white front endpaper and black back endpaper. Excerpt from “Le bateau ivre” handwritten in black ink on the two central pages. Dated and signed.

35

1958


Rimbaud: Mémoire paris, 1958 [exemplar único] [6] pp. | 13 × 35,5 cm 1 f. cartão com colagem. Capa e contracapa em cartolina branca. Texto manuscrito a tinta preta, escrito na contraguarda posterior: «L’eau claire ; comme le sel des larmes d’enfance. L’assaut au soleil des blancheurs des corps de femmes ; la soie, en foule et de lys pur, des oriflammes sous les murs dont quelque pucelle eut la défense ; l’ébat des anges». Assinado e datado. 1 cardboard sheet with collage. White card stock front and back cover. Handwritten text on the back endpaper, in black ink. Text: “L’eau claire ; comme le sel des larmes d’enfance. L’assaut au soleil des blancheurs des corps de femmes ; la soie, en foule et de lys pur, des oriflammes sous les murs dont quelque pucelle eut la défense ; l’ébat des anges”. Dated and signed.

1958

36


Charles Baudelaire: Ciel brouillé paris, 1958 [exemplar único] [8] pp. | 11 × 10,5 cm Capa e contracapa em cartolina bege, protegidas com uma película de papel transparente autocolante. 4 f. brancas com o texto manuscrito a preto; 2 p. do centro com colagem. Texto extraído de Les Fleurs du Mal. Assinado e datado. Beige card stock front and back cover, protected with transparent self-adhesive paper. 4 white sheets with handwritten text (black ink); 2 center pages with collage. Excerpt from Les Fleurs du Mal. Dated and signed.

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1958


Paul Éluard: L’amoureuse paris, 08-1958 [exemplar único] [8] pp. | 13 × 20 cm Capa e contracapa em cartolina vermelha, com colagens de recortes com imagens «d’Épinal» de soldados com fardas do século XIX; encadernação cozida com linha preta. 2 f. papel fino de cor de rosa; 2 f. papel branco de forte gramagem. Texto impresso em francês. Assinado e datado. Red card stock front and back cover, with collages of Épinal prints depicting soldiers wearing 19th century uniforms; pamphlet stitched with black thread. 2 sheets of thin pink paper; 2 sheets high grammage white paper. Text printed in cursive type (French). Dated and signed.

1958

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Genealogie de Jesus paris, 10-1958 [exemplar único] [4] pp. | 23,5 × 24 cm 1 f. cartolina violeta-claro dobrada; 1 p. com colagem de pétalas de anémona. Texto manuscrito em francês, com excerto do Evangelho de S. Mateus. Assinado e datado. 1 folded sheet light violet card stock; 1 page with collage of windflower (anemone) petals. Handwritten text (French), with excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew. Dated and signed.

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1958


Sol et Klaus münchen, 1959 [exemplar único]

Johny (poema de Merícia de Lemos) paris, 06-1959 [exemplar único]

1. 2. 3. 4. paris, 13-11-1959 [exemplar único] [12] pp. | 6,5 × 9 cm Capa e contracapa em cartolina de cor preta, protegidas por uma película de papel transparente autocolante, com uma etiqueta onde se lê «paris 13 Nov. 1959», escrito à mão a grafite; 2 p. com colagem de clips de plástico branco; 2 p. com um rótulo de cerveja «Fábrica Leão» e dois botões brancos; 1 p. com a colagem de recorte de um gramofone; 1 p. com um recorte de publicidade a «António Marcelino Lages, Encadernador e Dourador»; 4 p. com os números «1, 2, 3, 4» pintados e desenhados. Assinado e datado. Black card stock front and back cover, protected with transparent self-adhesive paper, with a sticker where it is possible to read “paris 13 Nov. 1959”, handwritten in graphite; 2 pages with collages of white plastic clips; 2 pages with “Fábrica Leão” beer label and two white buttons; 1 page with a collage depicting a gramophone; 1 page with the cut-out of an ad to “António Marcelino Lages, Encadernador e Dourador”; 4 pages featuring the numbers “1, 2, 3, and 4”, drawn and painted. Dated and signed.

1959

40


Un Egg d’Aluminium paris, 05-1961 [exemplar único] 15 × 24 cm Colagens, fotografias, p. pintadas de alumínio. Sucessão Édouard Loeb. Collage, photographs, pages painted with aluminum ink. Édouard Loeb succession.

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1961


Livro de Cozinha paris, 1961 [exemplar único] [98] pp. | 21 × 13,5 cm Bloco Sennelier, encadernado com tecido de algodão com recorte com imagem de um frigorífico; fecha com duas fitas vermelhas. Texto impresso com carimbos e manuscrito, em francês e português; contém um excerto de um texto de Marcel Proust. Colagens. Na guarda posterior: «René m’a offert ce bloc entoilé septembre 60 jusqu’en août 61 Lourdes Castro Paris Dia 28 de Agosto de 1961.» “Sennelier” notebook, bound with cotton cloth and collage of an image depicting a fridge; closes with two red ribbons. Handwritten and stamped text (French and Portuguese); includes an excerpt from a text by Marcel Proust. Collages. On the back endpaper: “René m’a offert ce bloc entoilé septembre 60 jusqu’en août 61 Lourdes Castro Paris Dia 28 de Agosto de 1961.”

1961

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1961


Espèce de catalogue [1961] [exemplar único] [106] pp. | 22 × 27 cm Capa e contracapa em metal prateado; capa com pequenas chapas metálicas coladas, de formato oval com números recortados. 39 f. cartolina grossa de cor cinzenta; 14 f. em papel; todas as f. cartolina com colagens: sobretudo provas fotográficas a p&b de obras de sua autoria, recortes de jornais e revistas… e outros de pequenos objetos de cor prateada. Nesta «espécie de catálogo» Lourdes Castro recolhe reproduções de uma parte da obra — assemblages e colagens — que foi realizando desde os anos 1960, utilizando como material/tema o alumínio. Nele se inclui um pequeno caderno, que funciona como uma espécie de índice das obras pintadas a tinta de alumínio representadas/reproduzidas, algumas com indicação dos seus proprietários. Assinado. Silver colored front and back cover; cover with glued small oval metallic tags with cut-out numbers. 39 sheets of grey pasteboard; 14 paper sheets; all pasteboard sheets with collages: mainly black and white photographic proofs of works made by the artist, magazine and newspaper clippings and other small silver colored objects. In this “kind of catalogue” Lourdes Castro gathers reproductions of part of the work—assemblages and collages—she produced in 1960-61 using aluminum as theme/material. It includes a small notebook, a kind of index of the represented/reproduced works painted with aluminum ink, some indicating their owners. Signed.

1961

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Livros e Cenários pelo Teatro de Ecrãs e Sombras: Os Livros de Artista de Lourdes Castro Johanna Drucker

A dedicação de Lourdes Castro aos livros enquanto forma primeira de expressão artística tem atravessado muitas fases da sua carreira. Nos códices que criou é possível identificar os seus processos de reflexão, como se a sua escala menor fosse uma zona de encenação, mas também um vasto horizonte concetual para o seu pensamento através e sobre os jogos de presença, ausência, e vestígios efémeros, que são a essência do seu trabalho. O livro é uma cena para Lourdes Castro, uma situação enquadrada para e por uma atividade que deixa a sua marca na superfície que a recebe. A diversidade de materiais é um autêntico inventário de técnicas — a caligrafia, a serigrafia, a colagem, o bordado e a fotografia são todos os componentes da sua paleta intelectual, da sua técnica de conceção e de produção. Desde os primeiros livros de poemas, manuscritos e com breves transcrições de textos com que mantinha uma relação mais íntima até às folhas de serigrafia maiores, mais arrojadas e luminosas dos projetos mais tardios, a artista fez intervenções inovadoras, uma após outra, deixando um precioso conjunto de livros decorrentes do seu percurso estético ativo. No final da década de 1950, altura em que Lourdes Castro começou a fazer livros, a ideia de um artista fazer livros como obra de arte era inusitada. Os tipógrafos e os editores faziam livros. Os artistas podiam ter um catálogo de exposição ou publicar obras num jornal ou numa revista. Se fossem muito conhecidos, podiam inclusive ter uma monografia dedicada ao seu trabalho, impressa em papel acetinado com um ensaio escrito por um crítico ou curador. Podiam contribuir com imagens para acompanhar o texto de um poeta clássico ou contemporâneo numa edição de luxo ou livre d’artiste. Mas criar um livro como uma obra de arte original? As suas primeiras incursões na produção de livros são de escala modesta, mas adquirem já uma dimensão concetual que estabelece uma ligação presciente entre a sensibilidade da época e as novas tendências nas artes. A colagem Um Livro da Ilha da Madeira, criada em 1956, e outras obras de técnica mista produzidas na mesma década — Calendário (1956), Um Livro (1957) — já testavam os limites da convenção. Estes primeiros esforços eram prenúncio dos diversos estudos que se seguiriam. Em 1971, a conclusão da obra Amôr revela um total entendimento do livro como objeto físico e concetual. O seu interesse pela sequência e pelo seu folhear, duas características fundamentais do formato do códice, demonstra que Amôr não é um livro por mero acaso, pela conveniência, mas especificamente pelo design. Amôr possui a estrutura vital do livro, as folhas encadernadas na sua relação fixa, como meio para criar o texto enquanto artefacto de pontos bordados. O paradoxo básico — de que uma folha de papel tem dois lados diferentes que podem estar ligados através de uma perfuração passando a estar unidos na sua diferença — está na essência deste livro. Lourdes Castro perfurou os pontos de extremidade e de cruzamento das linhas necessárias para bordar a palavra «AMÔR» na frente da primeira página do livro. No verso da mesma página o padrão bordado perde o sentido, uma tradução da palavra escrita pela trajetória da linha através dos orifícios. A fisicalidade da identidade da página é contrariada pela autonomia das suas duas superfícies, e o trabalho de Lourdes Castro leva este princípio a uma desconstrução cada vez mais extensiva, pois em cada página o padrão que a linha criou no verso é o ponto de partida para bordar o padrão seguinte. O processo é concetual e executado numa sequência clara e limpa de movimentos que determinam a sua força estética, sedutora para o olhar que procura a motivação ideacional impulsionadora do trabalho. O bordado torna-se um elemento presente noutros projetos como Goethe (1971) e Sombra (1971), que têm como características centrais o padrão e o pontilhado. Mas regressando às circunstâncias das primeiras intervenções de Lourdes Castro no formato do livro, nos anos 1950, recordemos o lugar dos livros na vanguarda histórica. Entre os artistas de vanguarda do início do sé-

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culo XX, sobretudo no contexto do futurismo russo, os livros eram um meio de expressão estética crucial. Mas estas obras muitas vezes efémeras feitas à mão em edições muito limitadas eram muito pouco conhecidas na década de 1950. Por outro lado, apesar de as publicações do movimento Dada e do futurismo italiano terem deixado uma marca da sua tipografia radicalmente inovadora e a sensibilidade para a colagem, remetiam para outra época. As edições independentes tinham desempenhado um papel crucial nos movimentos literários e ativistas desde o século XIX (os jornais religiosos e políticos e o panfletismo têm uma história ainda mais longa). Embora os artistas e os escritores tenham tido muitas vezes uma visão estética ou editorial que dava origem a livros, continuavam longe da produção manual e mecânica da impressão e da publicação. A câmara escura, o atelier e o estúdio eram, por definição, lugares onde se faziam obras únicas e preciosas. E quando se faziam reproduções, estas eram assinadas e numeradas de acordo com as normas de produção da gravura ou da fotografia, sem distribuição por métodos industriais de produção massificada. Por isso, quando Lourdes Castro começou a criar pequenos livros a partir de botões e tecido, como 1.2.3.4. (1959), ou a partir de rótulos e anotações como o Livro de Cozinha (1961), ou de cahiers pré-impressos com capa e páginas numeradas, ou de cadernos chineses reticulados e gravados com caracteres, estava verdadeiramente a criar objetos de arte em escala na forma de códice que, embora com precedentes, continuava a ser invulgar. As associações dos elementos de colagem são extra-estéticos, não pertencendo ao universo dos tubos de tinta a óleo ou do pastel, das telas ou do bronze fundido. À semelhança dos artistas que começaram a ser associados à arte pop «pintada à mão», Lourdes Castro introduzia na sua iconografia o universo vernáculo e comercial. O Album (1962) é uma referência ao álbum pessoal de família e às suas convenções e características formais, mas o objeto ganha um estatuto estético que altera a sua estrutura e identidade. Desde o início do século XX que os artistas associados a grandes movimentos no modernismo — Pablo Picasso, Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp, e a criativa baronesa Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven — incorporavam objetos reais em obras de arte. Corda, jornal, rótulos, rodas de bicicleta e buzinas, gaiolas e garrafeiras tornaram-se elementos ou objetos artísticos. Foram integrados em esculturas e colagens ou como adereços de performances. Foram raras, porém, as ocasiões em que o códice foi incluído nas propostas inovadoras que distinguiam o vocabulário formalista mais radical da vanguarda. Numa altura em que os objectos estranhos e os materiais fora do comum deixaram de ser novidade, foi esta abordagem pessoal e inovadora ao formato do códice que tornou os primeiros livros de Lourdes Castro tão invulgares e criou o alicerce desta permanente ligação com o livro de artista. Os títulos destas brochuras do fim dos anos 1950, R.M. Rilke: Vom Stundenbuch (1957), Paul Éluard: L’amoureuse (1958), Rimbaud: Le bateau ivre (1958), e muitos outros que citam estes poetas e Apollinaire, assinalam o gosto de Lourdes Castro pelos textos-poema de cada um dos escritores que formam o conteúdo destas obras. Escritos à mão de forma pessoal e envolvente, estes textos são exercícios na apreciação e apresentação. O ato de transcrever, tal como o ato de traduzir ou de ler em voz alta, é uma maneira de se envolver, palavra a palavra, letra a letra, com um texto. Os pensamentos do poeta são reescritos, refeitos pela mão da artista. Numa das obras de Rilke as cores das páginas e as primeiras páginas sem texto pontuam a sequência do poema, enquanto o virar da última página dá-nos a imagem de uma lua, ou uma esfera branca semelhante à lua, a brilhar como se estivesse no céu escuro da noite. Lourdes Castro serviu-se da qualidade teatral do códice para encenar o poema, recorrendo ao potencial cenográfico da estrutura do livro para amplificar o efeito do mesmo. Os artistas bem sabem que os livros não são apenas recipientes de conteúdo, veículos de comunicação ou modelos neutros. Os livros têm uma dimensão temporal, espacial e material que cria complexas inter-relações entre elementos encenados numa estrutura delimitada. São objetos móveis, montagens portáteis passíveis de serem produzidas através de um qualquer meio disponível e numa multiplicidade de circunstâncias. Para uma artista que se movia por vários lugares, sem acesso permanente a um atelier estabelecido, como aconteceu com Lourdes Castro na primeira fase da sua carreira, o processo de fazer pequenos livros tem também um apelo jornalístico e documental. As coisas apanhadas em trânsito, o efémero adquirido num lugar e levado para outro, tornam-se materiais disponíveis para combinar em colagens, cuja sobreposição de elementos faz uso de proximidades improváveis para obter o efeito máximo. Os seus primeiros livros, estas pequenas obras de elementos combinados são por isso oportunistas, no bom sentido da palavra, beneficiando da combinação de circunstân-

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cias e sensibilidades para materializar testemunhos de intimidade. O gesto aparentemente simples de prender pétalas nas páginas da Genealogie de Jesus (1958), por exemplo, preserva a noção de transitoriedade e a capacidade de um livro fixar um momento entre as suas folhas, conservando-o para o tempo futuro. Em Um Livro (1957), a colagem brinca com um conjunto de associações mais perigoso, em que os fósforos devidamente guardados e por riscar esperam dentro da longa caixa preta, uma promessa ou ameaça latente e por cumprir. A colagem permanece uma técnica útil para Lourdes Castro, mesmo depois de a serigrafia e o plexiglas terem introduzido novos elementos formais na sua produção de livros. Por exemplo, em Um Livro de Modas (1956) as imagens de moda são coladas nas páginas. O que poderia muito bem ser uma citação de Charles Baudelaire e do seu famoso uso do jornalista-pintor atento à moda Constantin Guys como emblemático «pintor da vida moderna». Uma vez que na modernidade as ligações entre a arte e a moda são incontáveis, e à medida que a arte pop se tornou mais proeminente, o diálogo entre estes universos cresceu da maneira como Lourdes Castro teria já intuído. De um modo muito diferente, a atenção ao tempo como um sistema convencional mas arbitrário, com uma relação muito própria com a efemeridade, é marcado na enigmática obra Calendário (1956), acima referida, na qual os meses são constituídos por uma seleção de dias, como se escolher alguns momentos em vez de ter de aceitar os ditames da habitual grelha pudesse libertar-nos da inevitável passagem do tempo. A intervenção da artista na grelha do tempo diz muito sobre a relação concetual com os formalismos modernistas, uma vez que expõe a tensão criativa entre escolha e sistema, a grelha como formato programático e a capacidade de a artista jogar com esta convenção, tal como faz com outras. Os primeiros livrinhos criados no fim da década de 1950 e no início da década de 1960 anteciparam a obra que aí viria, o compromisso a longo prazo e a dedicação ao códice. Inovadores, exploram um vasto leque de possibilidades sem se fixarem num método de trabalho específico. A abordagem de Lourdes Castro é muitas vezes clara e arrojada. Fromages assortis (1962) é muito claro no uso da variante de uma imagem de metal mecânica após outra nas páginas do livro. O que é aqui assortis é uma ideia, e o conceito de diferença conduz a obra jogando com as expectativas do leitor, que tem de reconciliar a imagem mental dos objetos colados com as formas mecânicas do verdadeiro encontro. No início da década de 1960, as sombras e os contornos começaram a aparecer ao folhear das páginas dos seus livros. As formas em linhas finas e mais grossas, em figuras reconhecíveis, mas deliberadamente ausentes, começam a flutuar ao longo das páginas. Em vez da montagem de materiais abundantes, vemos objetos sugeridos, já não táteis mas cada vez mais concetuais, quase virtuais na sua capacidade de estarem presentes sem peso ou substância. Estes contornos passam rapidamente para os livros, aparecendo em cena nas páginas, infiltrando-se pelas margens e pelas lombadas, tomando depois o centro do palco. As linhas parecem esboços que situam os adereços, ou traços à volta de elementos em movimento, como os objetos sobre a mesa em Anecdoted Topography of Chance (1966) de Daniel Spoerri, ou as sombras traçadas em Large Glass de Duchamp. Estas formas são mais incorpóreas do que informais. Os perfis e as marcas dos objetos representam os objetos originais. Em P.P. “O-E”, produzido com Bernard Heidsieck (1958, 1971), foram utilizadas placas de plexiglas para criar a sensação de profundidade num conjunto de camadas planas, para criar volume através da sobreposição de placas. Mais uma vez é revelada uma contradição fundamental em relação à estrutura e à forma do códice — a superfície como profundidade, a nossa atenção à página como suporte de inscrição que é em si mesma elemento de um objeto físico e dimensional. A noção de objeto ausente começa gradualmente a dominar o trabalho de Lourdes Castro, para se tornar uma linguagem de presença e ausência em jogo, todo um mundo de possibilidades em teatro de sombras, «o teatro de ecrãs e sombras». Esta frase repete-se em títulos de obras e projetos, invocando o jogo dramático da presença em contornos e da ausência substancial no centro da elegante prática concetual de Lourdes Castro. Ombres transparentes (1967) cumpre estes princípios de sombra e sequência, sendo as silhuetas mais preenchidas do que fantasmáticas. Ao longo das décadas, estes livros de artista e estas imagens, desde que começaram a ser elaborados, comunicam com uma precisão apurada, estando a cor dos contornos e das serigrafias tão fresca e viva como no momento em que foram criados pela primeira vez. A serigrafia era uma técnica de impressão comercial muito em voga no meio artístico nos anos 1960 pelos seus pigmentos quentes, ricos e uniformes. Hoje em dia tem o brilho de uma tecnologia ofuscada e quase obsoleta, que evoca outra época, tal como as fotografias

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a sépia e as ilustrações pintadas à mão evocam o seu período de arte gráfica. A força pura do grafismo destas imagens é tão bem servida pelo método serigráfico que é difícil imaginá-las executadas de uma outra maneira — ou mesmo compostas com outro resultado em mente. Elas sobressaem como a arte do seu tempo, artefactos dos anos 1960, quando a procura de uma expressão artística combinando um refinamento minimalista com uma referência consumista dos mundos da moda e do design remeteu a arte concetual para as tonalidades vivas. As obras são tão envolventes, tão imediatas, que é interessante pensar como é que continuam a esquivar-se à nostalgia e até a associações ao passado, já que são muito diretas na forma como transmitem a época histórica da sua produção original. A arte pop pintada à mão surge no final dos anos 1950 com um entusiasmo eufórico pelos ícones da cultura de massas, e também pelas suas técnicas. No início da década de 1960 seguir-se-ão a arte concetual e outras abordagens processuais à produção artística, anunciadas por Sol Lewitt em Paragraphs on Conceptual Art (1967) e por Donald Judd em declarações sobre o minimalismo em Specific Objects (1965). Os últimos vestígios da abstração pós-Segunda Guerra Mundial, da arte informal e da arte primitiva, impelidas pela experiência da guerra, começaram a ser ofuscados por uma estética da superfície e da imagem muito diferente, em vez das expressões da vida interior ou dos arquétipos da experiência. A vida social e os signos culturais tomados como estilo substituíram os da nostalgia, perda ou registo da vida emocional. Foi durante este período, com a mudança para o fabrico mecanizado e as tecnologias de produção comercial, que nasceu o livro de artista contemporâneo. No extraordinário Espèce de catalogue (1962) confluem todas estas linhas estéticas, reunindo Lourdes Castro o pop e o pessoal, o mecanizado e o industrial, o concetual e o manufaturado numa única obra. O livro, todo ele prateado, faz uso da tinta de todas as maneiras possíveis — como margem, como silhueta, para isolar um objeto dentre outros ou para unificar o todo. A tinta metálica, com todas as suas associações à indústria, contraria a preciosidade do livro com uma intensidade fria e dura. As obras de Lourdes Castro continuam a ser intelectuais, e independentemente de os elementos mais pequenos serem pessoais, de conhecer bem as figuras cujo perfil desenha, ou de onde são provenientes os elementos de colagem nos seus livros, retrai a sua influência com um tratamento formal, não os apresentando como um diário, histórias pessoais às quais se pode eventualmente aceder por algum código, são antes obras cuja apresentação está completa, estão prontas para serem vistas, observadas, entendidas como obras, como livros onde qualquer leitor poderá entrar porque são realizados como cenários formais, intelectuais, estéticos, compilados a partir de objetos e artefactos familiares e completamente legíveis para o observador. Na década de 1960, os primeiros precedentes na forma de obra vanguardista, ou livres d’artistes e edições independentes já referidas, foram ofuscados por um novo tipo de publicação artística muito sofisticado, muito minimalista e muito industrial. Neste novo modelo, o culto foi eliminado em benefício de múltiplos produzidos em massa através de meios de produção neutros e comerciais. Qualquer associação ao ofício do livro, com a longa história do trabalho manual que envolve a impressão, a encadernação e a produção do papel, foi eliminada em detrimento de um produto produzido em massa e homogéneo. Com algum distanciamento é possível identificar o paradoxo de que quanto mais aparentemente neutro for o modo de produção, mais apurado é o registo da sensibilidade artística individual. Revisitando as obras que Lourdes Castro iniciou no final dos anos 1950 e no princípio de 1960, é impressionante a forma como são imediatamente pessoais, como a sua marca distinta e única se move, ainda que trabalhe claramente em estruturas pop e concetuais. Nos anos 1960, o tom do grafismo mudou drasticamente. Saltam à vista cores quentes luxuriantes, formas simples, tonalidades brilhantes e uma sensibilidade para o consumo pop. As páginas de Voyelles de Rimbaud (1963) vibram com as tonalidades fluorescentes nada evidentes na década anterior. As cores fluorescentes surpreendem por contraste com os tons mais discretos da versão anterior. O mundo da cultura visual ficou saturado de cor na moda, na publicidade, na cultura de massas e nas belas-artes. As novas tecnologias de impressão aumentaram as potencialidades da tinta — a impressão offset a quatro cores em alta velocidade e os novos corantes sintéticos alargaram o espetro. Mas os formatos de impressão tradicionais existiam numa hierarquia de legitimidade, com a gravura no topo das belas-artes tradicionais. A técnica do gravador, com a mão no buril cortando o cobre, o aço, definindo o rigor das linhas, permaneceu virtuosa no mundo da impressão. A água-forte, com os seus ácidos ludibriantes, foi aceite como técnica no século XIX, complementada com a

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água-tinta, mezzotinta e outras técnicas tonais. A tentativa de reproduzir a fotografia através da impressão levou a inúmeras experiências, e algumas delas tornaram-se ferramentas para a transferência de imagens e a sua reprodução em múltiplas formas. A litografia, sobretudo a cromolitografia, teve o seu auge no universo da publicidade e marketing, fazendo negócio com as impressões comerciais — sentimentais, informativas ou utilitárias. Mas a cromolitografia, a arte do povo, foi uma técnica desacreditada no mercado das belas-artes. Muito lentamente a litografia começou a ganhar espaço nos ateliers e nas oficinas de belas-artes. A serigrafia era outra história, tão clara e exclusivamente associada às técnicas de sinalética. Simples, económica, acessível e completamente comercial na sua aplicação, a serigrafia foi uma das últimas tecnologias de impressão análoga a ter aceitação. Em Nova Iorque, a famosa Chiron Press tornou-se o centro de produção de serigrafias para artistas como Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, entre outros. O impacto das imagens combinadas com a técnica serviu a sensibilidade da arte pop emergente, e as serigrafias tornaram-se uma marca distinta do início dos anos 1960. Olhando para as serigrafias vibrantes de Lourdes Castro a uma distância de cinquenta anos, é impressionante a planura opaca da sua superfície, a densidade rica das zonas de cor sólida, só possível quando a tinta é espremida numa tela com a sensual espessura da nata. São frescas e leves, e a fusão de cores quentes e concetualismo sofisticado, a sua deliberalidade e abertura criam uma associação com o mundo estilizado dos anos 1960. As pernas cruzadas e os braços bem posicionados, descobrindo a postura do fumador, fazem parte de uma linguagem corporal agora regulada por um conjunto de expectativas e normas sociais muito diferente. A cabeça inclinada para a frente em direção ao cigarro, a mão caída casualmente entre inalações, gestos que sugerem clubes noturnos e disco, um pouco libertos dos condicionalismos sociais e de género também, e uma fluidez nos meios culturais em que o diálogo, a partilha, a vida artística e intelectual são a moeda comum de um meio sofisticado. Outros projetos têm uma mensagem política subliminar, a ameaça do fósforo acesso, as imagens coladas do jornal, o desfile de cores e a iconografia do deslocamento e do desejo. Nem tudo é superfície, e o longo rasto de associações é construído pela experiência pessoal e até pelas condições geracionais de deslocamento, mesmo quando a artista se move em cenários artísticos de diálogo e partilha intensamente ricos no estrangeiro. O seu envolvimento no jogo da ausência e da presença é ainda mais percetível nas várias peças de Ombres nos anos 1960 e 1970. Ombreportée rosefluo (1968) e Ombres transparentes (1967) são obras totalmente criadas no livro e em formato de portfólio. Assumem o interesse de longa data que Lourdes Castro tinha em usar o cenário da página e o espaço do livro para captar sombras precisas de perfis. As obras são repletas, articuladas, a sua perceção de escala e precisão absolutamente sintonizadas com a apresentação da obra em formato de livro. Parecendo simples, são reduzidas e depuradas com sofisticação, e assumem as provocações estéticas das suas primeiras experiências e inovações persistentes numa forma percetível. Sem texto, mas não silenciosas, parecem ter captado o eco de uma época, e ouve-se o tilintar dos vidros, as tensões na conversação, os trechos de música no contexto de uma vida cosmopolita habitada por estas figuras. Tudo desapareceu. As formas precisas da ausência permanecem, rastreadas e inscritas. Na década de 1960, as viagens de Lourdes Castro permitiram o contacto com figuras de relevo da arte concetual, e para quem os livros representavam uma parte significativa da prática artística, como Robert Filliou e Jan Voss. Com o companheiro, René Bertholo, Lourdes Castro criou a revista de serigrafias KWY (o título é, à semelhança do seu trabalho, um jogo da ausência, composto pelas três letras que não fazem parte das línguas portuguesa e francesa), e talvez o impacto e o contraste do grafismo só foram possíveis com a tinta opaca que imaginou. Ou talvez tenha sido a necessidade dos stencils, essenciais na serigrafia, que reforçaram a sua perceção do poder da silhueta. Teve um efeito a longo prazo no trabalho da artista, e os contornos da forma e da sombra foram aperfeiçoados e retrabalhados até à perfeição exclusiva nos seus projetos dentro e fora do formato de livro ao longo das décadas seguintes. O interesse pela inovação material que tenha permanecido foi absorvido no teatro de sombras e nas formas abertas dos seus diversos trabalhos de instalação e performance. Explorando o rico vocabulário de possibilidades, criou um corpo de obras sem corpo, livros de espaços vazios cuidadosamente delineados, impregnados de associações sugestivas. As sombras do seu teatro são tudo menos sombras. São indícios de presenças, e não sinais de algo que desapareceu. Não é difícil perceber as delicadas silhuetas. Os pormenores desafiam o olho e a mente e invocam uma miríade de leituras.

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Mas se a ausência é «fria» e a tinta é «quente», nos termos que Marshall McLuhan cunhou e dos quais tirou grande partido ao falar sobre os média, o percurso de Lourdes Castro não se organizou apenas entre estes pólos binários. Os livros da sua coleção revelam diversidade. Reiterando, as primeiras breves transcrições manuscritas e impressas de textos de poetas modernos — Paul Éluard, Arthur Rimbaud, entre outros — são íntimas sem serem pessoais. Remetem para a tradição das pequenas tipografias e edições literárias independentes mas tiram ainda grande proveito da valorização do papel e da caligrafia para reinscrever os textos-poema na forma de panfleto. As suas anotações e obras são desenhadas nestes cadernos únicos e impressos, uma linha ténue separa o caderno de esquissos e o livro de edição única. Têm por vezes uma qualidade casual, como se fossem concebidos num momento de reflexão ou de contemplação, como o fascinante Quinta do Monte (1986), com quadrados de cor a preencher a sua matriz e o fragmento de um poema, com uma nota pessoal por baixo. Uma obra? Deliberada? Planeada? Ou uma obra enquanto prova de um processo, a artista pensando em anotações pintadas. Os livros possuem, contudo, uma certa autonomia, uma capacidade de se conterem, de se completarem e de se moverem entre os intervalos de tempo que ligam o momento da sua produção aos muitos momentos de receção. Vistas e revistas, as obras adquirem um aspeto diferente a cada observação, como se tocadas por uma linha de perceção que liga um passado com um presente a um futuro. A surpresa do abrir permanece, renovada a cada encontro, a capa revestida a papel, tecido, decorada ou sem adornos abre-se para revelar o traço da artista. Ao contrário de uma pintura, impressão ou instalação, o livro que se oferece ao olhar precisa e pede um envolvimento, a mão do leitor bem como o olhar são convidados a viver a experiência. O inventário de dádivas de Lourdes Castro persiste, cheio de potencial, esperando que cada um se surpreenda de novo. No auge do envolvimento do livro na arte pop e concetual, Lourdes Castro utilizou o códice como um componente de um projeto de estética mais alargado, uma instalação teatral itinerante que lhe permitiu usar cortinas e panos com silhuetas e criar ilusões tanto no espaço como na página, retendo as ausências bem delineadas que ficaram por preencher em projeções a três dimensões. Mas nos livros, as silhuetas desempenham o seu jogo do fort-da com uma ambiguidade insolúvel, totalmente presente, repleta, detalhada e específica na sua ausência tão bem definida. O livro é um espaço de memória, cheio de vestígios, enquanto os espaços de luz e a performance desaparecem, fugazes como aquilo que sugerem. É interessante ver como o livro de artista aparentemente efémero tornou-se o registo mais duradouro da estética de Lourdes Castro, rico na sua capacidade de pôr diante dos nossos olhos os momentos perdidos. E são tão atrativos, vivos, luminosos e tão específicos na sua escolha do laranja-torrado e no turquesa, nos pretos opacos e nos brancos cintilantes, como se as figuras que os contêm tivessem acabado de abandonar o cenário há tão pouco tempo, e tão depressa, apenas há um segundo, que as suas marcas no ar e no espaço não tivessem desaparecido, e ainda permanecessem configuradas no ar e no tempo. E assim continuam presentes nestes volumes. Há qualquer coisa de cápsula do tempo nisto de ver estas obras expostas na perspetiva geral de uma exposição. As primeiras obras têm uma intimidade tal que a sua exposição quase parece uma afronta ao seu tom pessoal, mesmo contendo muito poucas informações privadas. E as obras mais recentes, polidas, acabadas, vedadas a qualquer invasão e investigação por ocultar precisamente o que revelam, são mensagens de outra época. Mesmo as obras recentes transportam algumas marcas de uma estética de frieza e de distância combinadas com cores quentes e materiais criteriosamente selecionados. Por vezes, entre tantos trabalhos e imagens surge algo muito pessoal, muito revelador — como as pequenas obras em que a artista desenvolveu os dois termos do seu próprio nome usando a primeira página do códice quase como um díptico religioso, para retratar as associações religiosas de «Lourdes» com as associações políticas de «Castro» em ícones reconhecíveis por muitas gerações e culturas. Nesta obra é possível ver como a artista usou o códice pela sua articulação entre confinamento e exposição, proteção e revelação, como uma forma cujo potencial para a ocultação foi e é tão eficaz como a sua habilidade para comunicar no tempo e no espaço. Neste sentido, os livros subsistem, a presença efetiva das muitas formas de ausência a que Lourdes Castro se tem dedicado em mais de cinquenta anos de trabalho criativo. Los Angeles, 2015

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Os Livros as Palavras as Coisas José Luís Porfírio

O que é um livro? Começo com duas histórias de proveito e exemplo, ambas passadas com crianças, ambas tendo que ver com os livros, o seu enigma e a sua utilização. Qualquer delas já se passou há muito tempo, uma comigo, outra com uma irmã mais nova de uma grande amiga minha, Madalena Cabral. Sempre vivi no meio de livros, os dos meus Pais primeiro e, depois, os meus, e tenho deles uma memória clara e antiga que recua até ao tempo quase inimaginável em que eu não sabia ler. Vejo claramente um livro que, serão após serão, o meu Pai abria e longamente olhava, o livro tinha uma espécie de linhas escuras, paralelas, aparentemente iguais, que nada significavam para mim. O meu Pai ficava tempos infindáveis a olhá-las, depois mudava uma página, depois outra, sempre olhando as tais linhas escuras onde nada parecia mudar; até que uma noite o mordi na orelha e ele deu um salto com dor e surpresa. Logo a seguir ri-me, e depois fiquei assustado. A minha Mãe, calma como sempre, só me fez ver como o tinha magoado e, de facto, assim era, deixando-o com uma marca que lhe ficou para o resto da vida e que só eu sabia reconhecer dezenas de anos depois. Eu tinha quatro anos, ainda não sabia ler e o livro era um volume das obras completas de Ortega y Gasset, que hoje está comigo. Nesta minha memória inicial o livro aparece como um enigma, algo de obscuro e incompreensível. A segunda história passa-se com uma menina que já sabia ler e que nas suas primeiras leituras, longe do olhar da família, ia arrancando cada página que lia à medida que lia; quando, espantados, lhe perguntaram o porquê, respondeu simplesmente: «Já li». Assim, ia deitando fora as folhas depois de terem cumprido a sua função, deixando-as à mercê do grande rio do tempo e do esquecimento. Creio que, a seu modo, os Livros da Lourdes participam deste enigma e desta utilização, muito embora os possamos ver exactamente ao contrário destas histórias, como desvendamento de um enigma oculto, em que as palavras são tantas vezes coisas, e como recolha de elementos dispersos, flutuantes no rio do tempo e do esquecimento, numa espécie de aluvião momentaneamente retido para nosso maior gosto e gozo.

Os Livros da Lourdes Podemos entender o conjunto de todos os Livros da Lourdes Castro como fazendo parte de um duplo e contraditório processo de afastamento e de aproximação.

Afastamento Os Livros da Lourdes fazem parte de um processo de afastamento porque se inserem numa continuidade de rupturas que são outras tantas saídas decisivas para esta artista: Saída da Madeira, a sua ilha natal; Saída da Escola de Belas-Artes, que não a entendeu (ainda bem!); Saída de Portugal, como toda uma geração de artistas; Saída da pintura.

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Basta olhar para os seus cúmplices e amigos da KWY, uma aventura de dez anos (1958-1968) na Europa a partir de Paris, para vermos como quase todos também saem, total ou parcialmente, da pintura, passando muitas vezes pela palavra ou por uma especial caligrafia; assim acontece com René Bertholo, Jan Voss, João Vieira, Gonçalo Duarte, José Escada, Costa Pinheiro, ficando de fora Christo, que desde 1958 tudo vai embrulhar, incluindo objectos como pinturas, esculturas ou… livros. O afastamento, ou os afastamentos sucessivos da Lourdes são uma necessidade vital e uma aprendizagem contínua em que a vida e a arte se associam sem se dissociar.

Aproximação Bordar, coser, escrever copiando um poema, guardar uma pétala, colar uma imagem, uma etiqueta, um recorte, uma qualquer pequena coisa; tudo isto nos remete para um universo de uma ancestralidade não muito longínqua de avós e bisavós, mulheres sempre. Entre as prendas femininas mais tradicionais e uma originalidade recolectora, também antiga mas mais singular, inventando quadros feitos com lã, ou de conchas e escamas de peixe, ou livros de memórias visuais que são outros tantos livros de horas, ou ainda relicários, estritamente individuais, onde o postal e o desenho se defrontam, se colam e se cosem, onde a arte e a artesania se cruzam, mas de um modo pensado, consciente, materialmente próximos mas bem fora do coração selvagem da Arte Bruta. Em boa verdade Lourdes não se aproxima desses trabalhos, aparentemente tradicionais, porque já está dentro deles, porque eles sempre fizeram parte da sua vida, da sua terra e da Ilha à qual acabou por regressar sábia de muitas experiências novas. Foi necessário sair para voltar, para poder dizer todas as coisas nestes livros, não como sistema mas como invenção, como palavra-coisa, numa oralidade fixada na impermanência das páginas que se dobram e desdobram. Estes livros que nomeiam o mundo nas suas infinitas coisas, lembram-me um grande escritor que também faz o mesmo: João Guimarães Rosa. Ele diz o que sabe, o Sertão, o Gado, os Bichos e as Plantas; mas tem a consciência de que cada bicho, cada folha, cada piar, cada cantar de passarinho é um e é novo. Os campos podem ser os Gerais, tal como a Ilha para Lourdes, mas cada bicho é aquele bicho diferente, tal como os homens também o são, tal como estes livros são a descrição do mundo sem inventário possível, Campos Gerais de uma multiplicidade sem fim. Arco do Cego, 17 de Agosto de 2015 (Por opção pessoal o autor não utiliza o Acordo Ortográfico de 1990)

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Translations


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Le nouveau guide de la conversation en Portugais et Français, publié à Paris chez Boblé et Hingray, 1827.

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On Signs and Remnants Paulo Pires do Vale

Words are shadows shadows become words words are games games become words if shadows are words words become games Eugen Gomringer

Humour, which is in fact the most unassuming of all utopias […] Ernst Bloch

The bibliopraxis of Lourdes Castro When we look at Lourdes Castro’s books we understand how fitting Paul Claudel’s definition of book is: “the laboratory of imagination”1. A disciple of Mallarmé—who had already defined the book as a “spiritual instrument” to indicate its dual essence of instrumental materiality and spirituality of purpose, Claudel knew that the book was not only a container of contents or a mere extension of reason, but also a space for experimentation. The book is the bearer of mystery—an extension of human complexity. The page offers itself as a place of freedom. It is a laboratory. In the work of Lourdes Castro we also find this way of seeing the book as an atelier, as a place for exercise and reflection. Not an exercise that constitutes a sketch or a means to reach a final result; these books are not notebooks or sketches of future projects—here, the exercise is the creation of the work itself, its process, which is a spiritual exercise, and not just a material exercise, as the book. And in this exercise the artist is made. The relationship between art and life, which is revealed in these books, is also a constant in this artist’s work and life. In Lourdes Castro we discover a bibliopraxis 2 that spans from 1956 to 1984, and to which she will only return in 2008, to produce A Praia Formosa, a book with her grandfather’s photos. In a time when there was no definition of artist’s books as an autonomous artistic medium, the first books of Lourdes Castro already convey this meaning in the titles the artist gave them: Um Livro de Instrumentos Musicais (1956); Um Livro de Modas (1956); Livro da Ilha da

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Madeira (1957) or simply, Um Livro (1957). These are not notebooks, diaries or sketchpads. They relate to the structure of the book itself: cover, spine, folded or grouped pages, odd and even pages, numerated, a relationship with time, with the ritual of reading—even when there are no words to be read, or the text is fragmented and words and sentences appear as autonomous entities. There is no gradual passage from the illustrated book or livre de peintre to the artist’s book. Even the books in which she articulates text and image do not owe more to the livres de peintre than to a freedom and autonomy that are revealed in the choice of the poem, or in the finishing of the book—denying it the character of luxury product that these illustrated books once had (often oversized publications in special paper, numbered and signed, collectible objects…). There is an assumption of poverty, some other kind of arte povera, echoing her initial works for which she collected materials of no value. Looking at Lourdes Castro’s book making, we discover the apparition of an autonomous medium through the appropriation of an ancient instrument. It is the result—both conceptual and aesthetic— of a way of doing things, of an experimentation that also allows us to comprehend, through her books, the different phases of the artist’s work, the materials she used, her techniques and themes: abstraction, accumulation, shadows; everyday materials, aluminum paint, Plexiglas, rodhöid, embroidery… Books are allways present as a place for investigation and experimentation. They are a medium. Given that, at the time, the book was not a canonical medium, one might ask where these books came from. Lourdes Castro says that her love of books was instilled by her family—and her grandfather photos, published by Lourdes, are rich in scenes depicting people reading. The artist remembers, for example, seeing and reading, at a very young age, a special edition of Júlio Dinis’s As Pupilas do Senhor Reitor, illustrated by Roque Gameiro. A present from her grandfather to her mother, the book was so big that it had to be read on a table. She also remembers many postcard albums she loved to leaf through, a memory she will eventually return to with her work. The reverence towards books was also part of her education at the German School, in Madeira—as well as the importance of language and of the word in her relationship with the world. In practical and affective terms, the photo albums and notebooks with collages were also a form of communication and memory: whenever she went back to Madeira, during her holidays, she would tell her mother about the things she had seen, visited, and done. There was already a narrative and diaristic relation with the medium. Nevertheless, and as the artist says, her making of books had a particular “detonator”: a small book, a plaquette, as it is written in its back cover, made by René Bertholo in January 1955, in the context of the


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magazine Ver: “organização dos alunos da E.S.B.A.L.”, which he founded with A. Lopes Alves and Sebastião Fonseca. This plaquette, titled desenhos (drawings) was an edition of 150 copies, numbered and signed by the artist and by Sebastião Fonseca, who wrote the text. The book included a linocut, the cover was the reproduction of a collage, the drawings stenciled by the author, and some pages were foldouts. In the title page, center bottom, the word Ver suggests it is a real publishing house. The first number of Ver was published in January 1954, and it is possible to identify in this magazine some of the characteristics we will later find in KWY, founded and published in Paris—fruit of Bertholo’s continued interest in publications. Not a cohesive group or an artistic movement, much like its successor, KWY, Ver was also a collaborative organization that promoted art exhibitions and artist’s editions, as well the magazine’s periodic issues3, always limited editions produced with artisanal techniques. Adding to Bertholo’s plaquette, Lourdes Castro identifies a second event that also informed her book making: a group show featuring collages at Galeria Pórtico (a gallery run by Lourdes, Escada, Teresa de Sousa, and Cruz de Carvalho), which took place between June 22 and July 2, 1956. With a collage by Bertholo on its cover (just like in the plaquette), the catalogue of the exhibition included a text by Hertha Wescher contextualizing collage and its history: Braque, Schwitters, Matisse, Corbusier… Among other Portuguese artists, the show presented works by Lourdes, Bertholo, Almada Negreiros, António Charrua, António Quadros, Escada, Sara Affonso, Tom, Areal, Cruzeiro Seixas, and two German artists; Norbert Knopp and Walter Gaudnek.

Artist’s Books To define the term-concept of artist’s book is as difficult as it is necessary, because the boundaries of its limits are unstable and challenging. There are many definitions, some contradicting.4 In general terms, most accept the definition of an artist book as a work of art that uses the book as its medium, the codex as its structure. And the minimum element of the codex is the fold, the folded sheet, forming a sequence of four pages. In the artist’s book, the author’s intervention is not akin to that of the illustrator. Its purpose is not to reproduce the author’s work as an illustration. The work is the book itself, as a totality, a unity, not in its separate pages—as it happens in a book of drawings or sketches—but in its conscious intentionality. An “architecture”, as Mallarmé termed it. Its artistic intentionality is what defines it: the artist uses the book as a medium and as a means to produce a work with a unifying concept—even if it is fragile and open, like life itself, something that Lourdes’s work does not try to hide. It is not a mere collection of unrelated pages. The artist’s book, and the artist’s magazine—and, in the case of KWY, also an artist’s publishing house—were used to question art’s conventional and traditional spaces, questioning the institutions of art, its means of distribution and accessibility. In a time when traditional mediums were being questioned, and many artists had the objective of bringing art closer to life, the familiarity of the book as an object assured it was an accessible and effective medium. It was also the (now) historical time of the well-known dematerialization of art (and Lourdes’s work

approaches dematerialization is such a way that her shadow play performances became a path of no return). Curiously, the dematerialization of art lead many artists to the materiality of the book—and this is why it is a medium often used by conceptual artists and by the curators they work with (Kosuth, Weiner, Lewitt, Broodthaers, Barry, Siegelaub…). Because it was not defined only by aesthetics, this materiality made the spectator closer, activating them: its purpose was to be touched, not to be seen at a distance. Desacralizing the artistic object, the book—even with its theological dimension—is characterized by its indisputable proximity, carnality, and corporeality. Demystifying individual artistic work, the artist’s book questions what a work of art is: emphasizing the process and the artist’s intention, rather than their competence or geniality. It was necessary to demystify, to bring art closer to everyday life, to instill it with commonness. Either in their production or in their contemplation, this relationship with life, with the time of life, is essential to these books: the jour après jour. They transport the experience of temporality: they are (usually) not immediate objects, they demand our attention and time. And they are not on permanent display: not all works of art need to be always visible and immediately accessible. In the book, in the secret it keeps between its pages, there is a refusal that helps us understand the true work of art: a stronghold of mystery and obscurity, of luminous ambiguity. I agree with Anne Moeglin-Delcroix when she states that “the book has no sense, it is its own sense”. 5 This is the definition of artist’s book we use in this catalogue. We excluded some editions, portfolios or albums with loose sheets and silkscreens, precisely because they did not respect the structure of the traditional codex, extended here to the books that use other means to join their pages, i.e. binding rings. Despite the fact that it is closer to a portfolio, Un autre livre rouge (1973-74) was also included, because of its thematic unity and the fact that its title describes it as a book. Contrary to some other authors, we do not believe it is useful to use the number of copies as a criterion to define the artist’s book: to consider as an artist’s book only those which are unique objects or special limited and signed editions; or, on the contrary, to consider only those that use the industrial and commercial techniques and processes of the book, excluding those which are unique and handmade. In the history of the book we can consider the unique medieval book of hours, Gutenberg’s Bible, the first incunabula, as well as books with unlimited industrial print runs. This is clear on Lourdes’s work: an artist’s book can be a unique object (most of them), an edition of 70 (Ombreportée orangefluo, Ed. Tosi), or of 1000 copies (Par suite, Daily-Bul). How it was produced, how many copies were produced, if it is signed or not, these factors do not participate in the definition of the artist’s book. An artist’s book is a work of art that uses the book as its medium. Lourdes made books. She was interested in its practice, not in the theory about the medium, not in how we term or define it. Her statements were what she produced, she was not thinking about being part of a history, the history of artist’s books, which did not exist at the time: her work was the materialization of a desire to make things— from already existing things, as the artist herself says: books existed, images and objects existed, newspapers and magazines, pencils and scissors… The book allowed her to mix mediums—intermedia, as Dick Higgins called them—poetry and drawing; text and image; pasting and embroidering; cutout and silkscreen; paper, Plexiglas, textiles,

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objects. So easily juxtaposing mediums, the book is an essential space for plastic, poetic and conceptual experimentation. What she was making, what came out of that making, those were not the artist’s first concerns. To place these pieces in a tradition or in the vanguard of the use of a medium that was then emerging as autonomous is something we can do now, at a distance, not something one could have been aware at the time. Looking back to the 1950s and early 1960s, we can now precisely identify the time of the emergence, as a conscious practice, of the book as an autonomous medium—albeit one with a well-known lineage of predecessors.6

The book, the sign, and the game The value and power of the letter, of the word, of the sign is a question raised by many of Lourdes’s books. They allow us to focus our attention on the relevance of language, and identify this relevance in the rest of her work, like not yet used hermeneutical key: the importance of materiality of language, of signs—and, ultimately, to understand the shadow as a type of sign. Already in her first books, language appears in the fragments of the cutouts of typographic text from newspapers and magazines, in the elegant calligraphy she uses to copy poems and excerpts of texts she loves. In autonomized letters, handwritten poems, cutout and pasted words, engraved, silkscreen printed, embroidered, stamped words… Language is the means to control time, to control the world. The means to give them human form. But it is not the pure replacement of the world by another: a sign. In its oral form, but even more when it is written, language implies an inscription in the world, the seizing of a place. Giving a body, a space, a materiality to words is a common exercise in these books: pasting loose letters or words, in Um Livro de Modas, 1956; scattering a poem on a page, either vertically or in the horizontality of the spread, experimenting different German Gothic font sizes (in Rainer Maria Rilke: Vom Stundenbuch, 1957); undoing the order and the purpose of a calendar (Calendário, 1956), rendering it useless; revealing the cacophony of overlapping text, rendering it illegible, in Cahiers de conversations (1966), or the deepness of the poem in the Plexiglas book she created with Bernard Heidsieck (P.P. “O-E”, 1971); and the materiality of the isolated words or dates in the cardboard or Plexiglas pages of her embroidered books (Avessos Encadeados, 1971)—and this materiality becomes even denser when we are left only with the reverse, and with the reverse of the reverse, a signifier to which we have no meaning, and is only an illegible drawing, a collection of marks, a mysterious sign: what does this mean?, what did this mean? The drawing of the sign is all that remains. We also can abundantly find the presence of text in Un autre livre rouge (1973): clippings from newspapers and magazines, photocopied books, manuscripts, and labels pasted into its pages. This exhibition starts by revealing that this relationship with language was already present in a piece created while she was still in the Fine-Arts School—1956, the year she starts producing her first books. In this oil on wood painting depicting a girl reading a book, Lourdes writes “Que lês Maria Alice?” (What are you reading, Maria Alice?). This prosaic and apparently nonchalant question introduces, in an almost brutalist manner, a question about the representation and what

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is beyond it. Inscribing these words on the work, the artist radically transforms it, giving it a meaning, a freedom, a newness and expressiveness that painting alone could never have. We also find the presence of letters in pieces from the period she accumulated objects, often assemblages painted in aluminum. Similarly, many of her projected shadows, in Plexiglas, rodhoïd or bedsheets, are depictions of her friends reading—in one case she even embroidered the title of the book, Beds, and the name of its author, Wade Stevenson, on the embroidered shadow of the book: language and the book are constant presences in the artist’s work. The importance of writing is also revealed in the poems she selected and transcribed in order to create some of these books: to memorize—to know by heart—to make a poem her own. Here, writing is the opposite of what Plato feared the most—oblivion—and becomes an ally of remembrance. A form of spiritual exercise: “I write by hand to preserve, to memorize. Some things enter you through reading, you read them so often that you know them by heart. Writing is another language and you must take care of it as best as you can. And then, in that moment, it transforms into something else. It is not just the poem, the book enters me and I am already in it”—the artist says. In a footnote in his short story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, Borges states that in Tlön “All men who speak a line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare.”7 Perhaps we can also declare the opposite, and say that the author who is read and copied becomes the reader who transcribes and appropriates their words: these poets are brought into the very special and personal world of Lourdes. The copy, the quote, as Georges Didi-Huberman once wrote: “arises from a simultaneously modest and voracious attitude. To quote is, first and foremost, to admire, to affirm ourselves as disciples of the ones we admire. But it is also, perhaps, to desire to become the author of what we admire in other authors, like a phasmid devouring the leaf of a tree so that it can resemble more like it.”8 In this text, Didi-Huberman refers to Godard’s use of quotes and editing, Godard, who, curiously, is one of the authors “quoted” by Lourdes—revealing that quoting is not only a literary practice: there are multiple references to the history of art, photo reportages and advertising images. In Livro de Cozinha (1961), Lourdes uses four pages to adapt and transform a sentence from Godard’s À bout the souffle (1960), when Belmondo, facing the spectator says: “Si vous n’aimez pas la mer, si vous n’aimez pas la montagne, si vous n’aimez pas la ville, allez vous faire foutre!” Lourdes appropriates this sentence and adapts it to the topic of her book: regional or national cuisines, and lists “Si vous n’aimez pas la cuisine bourguignonne / Si vous n’aimez pas la cuisine javanaise / Si vous n’aimez pas la cuisine allemande / Si vous n’aimez pas la cuisine grecque […]”, sequentially listing other geographic locations and filling the spread with a single block of text inked with stamps on the paper. Turning the page, we discover, stamped on the bottom of the even page, the sentence “Allez vous faire f”, with the last word cut by the border of the page. Lourdes uses Godard as Godard will use so many other artists and authors in his future movies. Some of Lourdes’s books are just folded sheets of paper, the minimal form of the codex, with a verse or a poem, instead of a whole book: this cut allows the intensification of the text, a way to frame, to call our attention to it. The same happens when she places a solitary word on a white page. How she places the word on the page, the choice of how it relates to the empty space is not accidental—it is not without conse-


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quence. There is a clear understanding that the medium is part of the message. Mallarmé said that composing the white or the emptiness of the page is as important as the verse. The page is a relation between the written area—or the image—and the untouched white (or other color) paper. In 1925, Paul Claudel wrote: “This relation is not purely material, it is the image of that which all movement of the thought, being translated by a sound and a word, leaves around itself unexpressed, but not inert, not incorporeal; it is the enveloping silence from where this voice arose, and that it impregnates in turn, something akin to its magnetic field. […] In effect, the white is not a material necessity imposed on the poem. It is the condition of its existence, of its life and breath.”9 Claudel compares the verses of the poem on the white page to the organization of the Japanese garden, they both are the containers of a miniature landscape: “each page presents itself like the terraces of a vast garden”. In Lourdes’s books, the relation between text and image assumes various forms. If in some books the choice of the text is the consequence of her interest in the meaning it conveys—and this happens with the poets, the excerpts of the Family Album that revolves around the topic of the shadow (Ombreportée orangefluo, 1968) or in Un autre livre rouge—in other books the text is present as drawing, more signifier than signified: this is the case in Genealogie de Jesus (1958), or in the texts engraved in the Plexiglas books, dialogues from a 19th century Portuguese-French conversation book: the mismatch between the out of date use of language and the time of the book’s production is even greater when we think about the innovative material it is made of, its color and contemporary appearance. But this mismatch is even greater when we try to read the book, an impossible task given that the transparency of the pages renders the book illegible: a species of visual cacophony, a constitutive illegibility—and those who manage to read it discover a dialogue taken out of a French language lesson; “renting an apartment”, or “buying a book”… The book A História da Minha Flor (1957) is revealing because it subverts the usual relation between text and image: text is the illustration. At the end of the book, Lourdes writes: “illustrations by Bernardim Ribeiro, Alfredo Margarido, Poets of the Cancioneiro Geral, Raul de Carvalho, Luís de Camões, Goethe, Cesário Verde, Garcia Lorca, Guerra Junqueiro”, leaving us with the ambiguity that these were the illustrators of the story she told with images. The relationship between text and image is not one of mimicry, in reality the relationship between them is not direct, but the result of an accumulation of different elements that arise with unpredictability and surprise—and in some cases even disorientation. The relationship with writing is also revealed in her drawings in Klage (1957), which go together with Rilke’s text. In these drawings, the artist seems to resort to the universe of writing: a kind of illegible calligraphy in which letters transform into landscape. The relationship with linguistic signs is also present in the small silkscreen she introduces in her book Herberto Helder (1958): Lourdes uses the paper of a Hebrew newspaper, printing the image over the text. Once again, the presence of the sign in her work—a sign that is only revealed to those who possess the hermeneutic key, to the ones who know the code. The relationship with the language, its translation and the referential materiality of words are very clear in Deutsch Hefte (1973): to the words correspond things.

In books such as the ones in engraved Plexiglas, in the embroidered books, and particularly in the book she made with a poem by Heidsieck, the relationship with concrete poetry becomes evident. Visual and concrete poetry were of great interest to the artist, and her friendship with other artists and publishers are proof of that: she participated in the magazine Cinquième saison. Revue de poésie évolutive, in 1962; and repeatedly in Stereo Headphones. An Occasional Magazine of the New Poetries, published by Nicholas Zurbrugg.10 Chopin and Emmett Williams participated in the magazine KWY; besides the book they published together, Lourdes collaborated in action-poetry performances by Heidsieck. In 1975, Lourdes is also included in the book Visual Poetry Anthology.11 Robert Filiou, a friend of Lourdes and one of the contributors to KWY and to the book Madame Bovary et Gustave Flaubert (1961-62) once stated that: I believe that the most important thing, or one of the most important things that happened in modern art was the irruption of poetry in art. This is why it is a mistake to talk about visual poetry. It is art, the art of the poets that express themselves visually.”12 In some of these works by Lourdes de Castro we find the experience of the “fragmented language”13 we can also find in other concrete poets: in its fragments, language stops being a “simple means of communication” and becomes autonomous. It becomes unstable and ambiguous. A criticism of logocentrism and of the desire of an immediate meaning—which we also find in the title of the magazine KWY, three letters that do not exist in the Portuguese alphabet. Already there, we can feel the strangeness of the sign. With certainty and assurance, the series of books Avessos Encadeados raises these themes, but also many others: it questions previously ascribed meanings, makes writing closer to drawing, and discovers a conceptual strategy of infinite drawing. As we advance through the pages of these books, from reverse to reverse, we are confronted with the impossibility of reading, with a purely material and physical dimension of drawing. One word and its transformation. Also, in some pages of Livro de Cozinha, changing a letter or two in a word changes the meaning of the word, like in the systematic repetition of the stamped word “FISH”, sometimes “TO FISH”, which almost imperceptibly transforms into “FIN” (END). About the origin of Avessos Encadeados, Lourdes Castro said: “One day, in 1970, I was embroidering a bedsheet with the contour of a shadow of a person. I had a needle in my hand. I was thinking about sending a catalogue of a show of mine to my friend Helder Macedo, who had dedicated a poem to my shadows, which was published in that same catalogue. I wanted to write him a dedication. I had the needle in my hand with a colored thread. I embroidered the dedication on the paper. When I turned the sheet around I was surprised by the reverse of those letters: a strange drawing, only a few points coinciding with what I had just written on the other side. What if I embroidered the reverse of the reverse and so on? A never ending book. I made several, with different words, each page the transformation of the previous one, never recognizable or legible. Shadows?”

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This last comment, which connects the word to the shadow, is very useful because it helps us to link Lourdes’s work with linguistic signs to her best known work with shadows: her work with the word, with the letter, with the linguistic signs is continued, somehow, in her later works with shadows. Shadows are signs, signifiers with their signifieds—words are to the things they refer to like shadows are to the absent objects that once projected them. Like words, shadows are signs: they indicate absence through presence. We find this equivalence, enriched with another reality which is also very close to Lourdes’s books, the game, in a “constellation” by Eugen Gomringer, one of the founders of concrete poetry and cofounder, with Dieter Roth, of the magazine Spirale: “words are shadows shadows become words words are games games become words if shadows are words words become games” The shadow and the word reveal Lourdes’s continual interest in signs, in coding and decoding, in how a present signal refers to an absence. The sign is the facilitator of the game, of the suspension, of the loss of meaning, of the shift from its original sense that allows it to acquire other meanings—as we well understand in Lourdes’ assemblages. According to Gomringer, the ideal of concrete poetry was to reduce the poem to a word14. In Avessos Encadeados, while transmuting a word to infinity, like mutant shadows of the initial word, Lourdes Castro plays with what is most fundamental in concrete poetry—in a possibly endless game. Her interest in the materiality of language, in writing in particular, in the letter and in the word is a continuation of modernity’s attention to the materiality of different media. Modernity, which also paid special attention to daily life: the artist becomes a collector of the remnants of that existence—signs otherwise. As we see in these books by Lourdes Castro, and in all her work, everything can be used, reused, re-signified: the montage is also her “bon souci”.15

The artist-collector and the assemblage The book form has allowed for Lourdes, as it did for many other artists from her generation and those following, a relationship with accumulation, listing, inventories, collecting, cataloguing16… As Moeglin-Delcroix wrote: “one of the reasons artist’s books developed in the years 1969-1970 owes itself to the introduction, in the visual arts, of an attitude which tended to substitute creation in the traditional sense of the word, with the practices of collecting. By this we designate a set of activities which are more or less anonymous and which are exercised upon materials already existing which are merely reunited, inventoried, registered or even systematically collected”.17 The very concept of the author is put to task, as is the notion of the collector. In these collecting practices, they are not just interested in

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the hard to find, rare object, nor the methodical and thorough approach. Lourdes Castro is part of this group of artist-collectors/gatherers18, like Ruscha, Boltansky, Anette Messager, Dieter Roth, Hans-Peter Feldmann. The latter, for example, collected postcards, photographs from newspapers and magazines, reproductions, objects; in his books he collected photos of girls’ knees (11 Bilder); or women’s faces (152 Bilder); images of airplanes (12 Bilder)… Anette Messager affirmed that, since 1973, she had used notebooks, books and albums, as a way in which to “untangle this obsession of saving” 2, but also, as the artist writes, conscious of her action, because “collecting is protecting yourself, it’s a way of fighting against death”.19 These books, which result from these collecting practices are situated between investigation and confession. But the classificatory reasoning—with its origin in the natural sciences—finds itself here in an attenuated or even whimsical form: the artists experimented with a greater liberty; a less classificatory, and more associative way of creating sequences, series and collections. A freedom and ambiguity which the assemblage intensifies. If the assemblage is determinant in the books of Lourdes Castro, it at once comes from, and detours itself from the archivistic impulse many of these artist’s books seem to demonstrate. But the space within a book—or of a book-exhibit, as is the case with Un autre livre rouge— and its intention, to show, implies a fight against the apparent denial of choice embodied by the archive. In truth, the archive already implies a selection and a choice of what material to conserve, but the cut made by the exhibition is tremendously greater. The archive presents the unattainable, a compacted accumulation, as its program; the book or exhibition must propose a more comprehensive system and an orientation20… It is a question of visibility: of a more immediate accessibility and perception. It should permit the inclusion of differences and strangeness, without erasing the restlessness of the multiple: and for this, the perpetual movement of its interpretations, of ever new meanings which the assemblage or the re-assemblage suggests. In the books—the greatest example being Un autre livre rouge— that which in the archive is continuity and completion, becomes here a lack of continuity, without falling into the temptations of academicism or excessive thoroughness. The freedom with which she refers to the red, does not simply manifest itself in an accumulation of references, but in the attention given to its variety; she doesn’t specialize itself in a specific cultural area, but embraces all ways life in their totality, which is culture, from politics to color theory, from art history to agriculture, from erudit to popular culture. A montage is a way of thinking in fragments, with fragments: and in this way, it illustrates the fragmentation of reality itself. It doesn’t hide the discontinuity, it sooner reveals it and sheds light on the shattered aspect of reality; it appropriates its remnants—but finds an order, more or less random, a unity, which reveals itself in different books; fashion, the island of Madeira, kitchen, the album of postcards, the aluminum, the shadows of friends, the German, the red… a thematic unity which allows for a reconnection among disparity. A type of untiring gleaning; another way of arte povera. Collage and assemblage, in the Dadaistic tradition of Kurt Schwitters, Hannah Hoch, Raoul Hausmann; relating to the photographic image, advertising symbols and logos or typographic lettering; resorting also to objects such as buttons, sewing needles, matches and coins—even real dead flies, or vegetable matter such as flower petals or seeds, textiles and all types of documents which may serve as a means to an end.21


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One of the most striking aspects of these works by Lourdes is their graphic virtuosity: a sensibility to comprehend the odd relations between the emptiness, a patch of color, image or text on a page—or the spread of two pages understood as a single plane, as it frequently happens to be. It may go to extremes of accumulation, taking back the rules and the images from advertising and consumer society, into the most purified emptiness (as it happened, also, in the course of her oeuvre). In the same way that all speech is a form of bricolage (Lévi-Strauss, Derrida), Lourdes’s books have something of the bricoleur: of using the means at hand, which were already there, but are now used in an unusual way, unexpectedly, off the beaten path, an appropriation and a subversive speech charged with humor.

Penelope, time and joie de vivre Joy is the mark of wisdom, according to Confucius, and humor is the “most unassuming of all utopias”, as Ernst Bloch affirmed22: a way of intensifying and of projecting other ways of being. The humor, its lightness, is a common trait in many of Lourdes Castro’s books— and that, in some way, is in the lineage of Duchamp23, with the linguistic games and the subtle sense of humor or the absurd folly. Be it the surging of unexpected elements, the layering of images from distinct universes, from disparate references; in the disappearance of essential elements in a calendar; placing Bovary as the lover of Flaubert, in the 1960s; using dated texts with dialogues in an outdated language; depicting two boxers in conflict; in titling a book Fromages assortis or another, Silêncio (authorized by the censors); to silkscreening some underwear in the pages of a book or presenting herself in the tension between a small stamp of Our Lady of Lourdes and a portrait of Fidel Castro… humor is a permanent fact. A way of play, because, after all, “joy”—as Almada Negreiros affirmed, with whom Lourdes worked in theater—“is the most serious thing in life.”24 The close relation with life may as well be understood in the production time of these works, in their handcrafted character, a detailed and meticulous type of temporal and spiritual exercise. Being attentive, gathering, clipping, gluing… caring for the world in all its diverse forms. Read, choose, write. The methodology of Lourdes Castro is, above all else, one of attention. Of attending to the life which passes, to the smallest detail as though it were the most grandiose. Nothing is unkept. Everything is important. As Simone Weil taught: “the method for understanding images, symbols, etc. Not to try and interpret them, but look at them until light spills forth. In general, a method of exercising intelligence which consists in looking. […] The condition being that the attention is seeing and not a desire”25. It is this generosity of Lourdes with the world and for others, so much so that this attention becomes a sort of ‘natural pray’, as Malebranche once affirmed.26 This attention demands, however, constant work: the attention is contemplation and action. A permanent retaking: make, unmake, remake… As Valéry defined the writer’s work: as the “labor of Penelope.” As did Valéry, Lourdes also removes herself from language and the habitual signs, taking them back, giving them another usage, taking them out of their immediate utility, creating a sort of distancing. The “Labor of Penelope” is a description not only of the authors exercise, but of the

power of the book itself. And the many books which Lourdes has made, exhibit this: because they are endless – infinite, as the Avessos Encadeados could be—or because they allow infinite readings. We have shown with this exhibition, and with this catalog, that there is a continuity in the works of Lourdes Castro which are already well known and the books, which were until now largely unknown: the way in which she deals with collage and accumulation, how she utilizes symbols, scraps, and makes shadows appear, in the pochoir (Libellipe) and the silkscreens (Prints and Comments), even in the moving maturity of the capturing of the shadows of her friends—to whom she thanks for having lent their shadows—in Ombres transparentes. The materials and techniques accompany the books and the remainder of her oeuvre: the first collages, the accumulation, the aluminum paint, the silkscreens, the Plexiglas, the rodhöid, the embroidery… This exhibition, focusing on the presence of the books and the written word in the work of Lourdes Castro, allows us to chart an anthological course of her various phases: between the excessive accumulation and the renouncement, in a permanent reconnection of art and life. In the end, as Lourdes says over and again, everything is connected—and her books demonstrate this: the most ancient and the most contemporary, the most erudite of cultures and the most popular, that which is imagined to be valuable and that which is considered worthless… In her assemblages, in her attention, Lourdes brings it all together, approaches, and breaks down borders. Looking back, she gathers the ruins. The remnant. She gives a glance which rescues—and this is accompanied by her hands that think: her method is one of thinking with her hands. As the artist has repeatedly stated, she hasn’t invented anything, it was all already there. Books and journals, the objects and the images, the texts, the colors, the cisors, the textiles or the papers… We continue that which others have given us: it is all one thing, one same thing. In this work which is so authorial, paradoxically, there is this very notion of author and authority which is being put into question. Everything has its time: the wait to show these works reveals this wisdom. Un autre livre rouge waited more than 40 years to now be shown to the public. As Rilke wrote, one of the poets who Lourdes copied, in one of the Letters to a Young Poet: “Time is no measure, a year doesn’t count, ten years means nothing. Being an artist is not counting. It is to grow as a tree which hurries not its sap and serenely resists the great winds of spring, fearing not that summer might not arrive. For summer will come. But only for those who know how to wait so calmly as if they had eternity before them.” And Lourdes knows. The books of Lourdes Castro are a true laboratory of experimentation: they illuminate the rest of her work, just as her best known works illuminate the books (which are works). Another name for work is, truly speaking, life. A continual search about the relationship between life and the signs which try to capture it—words, images or shadows. And this is, for Lourdes Castro, a kind of breathing.

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Paul Claudel, “La philosophie du livre” in OEuvres en prose, Paris, Gallimard, “La Pléiade”, 1965, p. 79. “Bibliopraxie” is the term used by Gilbert Lascault in his article “Livres dépravés”, in Chroniques de l´art vivante, N.º 47, March 1974, pp. 6-8. The first issue of Ver was an edition of 50 copies (with the indication “art—literature— graphic arts”), the second 100 copies, with increasingly greater print runs. In the editorial of the first issue it was described as a “newspaper” with the purpose of “providing a space where those who, like us, fight in a field of common research, can debate and present their ideas and productions in a field as vast as art can be”. The first number included engravings by Lopes Alves, Guilherme Casquilho, René Bertholo, Francisco Keil, José Pacheco, images of ceramics by Cargaleiro, as well as the literary collaboration of José Cutileiro, Félix Correia and Sebastião Fonseca. The second number, in which the editors already used the word “magazine”, included the collaborations of Almada Negreiros, Helena Almeida, Rogério Ribeiro, Nuno Portas, José Escada, João Cutileiro, among others. In Bertholo’s plaquette a second number, from the same “drawings” series, is announced as to include 18 drawings by Escada and text by Nuno Portas. For more information about the definition of artist’s book and its ambiguity, read the text by Johanna Drucker in this catalogue—to whom I thank her generosity—and: Germano Celant, Book as Artwork, Brooklin, 6 Decades Books, 2010 (2.ª ed.); Ulises Carrión, We Have Won! Haven’t We? (ed. Guy Schraenen), Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, 1992; Johanna Drucker, The Century of Artist Books, New York, Granary Books, 1995; Anne MoeglinDelcroix, Esthétique du livre d’artiste, Paris, Ed. Jean Michel Place/Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1997; Stephen Bury, Artist’s Book: The Book as Work of Art, 1963-1995, Hants, Scolar Press, 1998; Cornelia Lauf e Clive Phillipot, Artist, Author: Contemporary Artist Books, New York, Distributed Art Publishers, 1998; Anna Sigrídur Arnar, The Book as Instrument: Stephane Mallarmé, the Artist’s Book, and the Transformation of Print Culture, Chicago/London, University of Chicago Press, 2011; Clive Phillpot, Booktrek: Selected Essays on Artists’ Books, Zurich, JRP Ringier/Dijon, Les presses du réel, 2013. Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, Esthétique du livre d’artiste, Paris. Ed. Jean Michel Place/Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1997, p. 10. Art historians usually signal Dieter Roth, in Europe, and Ed Ruscha, in the USA, as the founders of this artistic practice as a conscious and continued discipline, even though their activity had important precedents. Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, New York, Penguin Books, 1998, p. 76. Georges Didi-Huberman, Passés cités para JLG. L’Œil de l’histoire 5, Paris, Minuit, 2015, p. 13. Paul Claudel, “La philosophie du livre” in Prose, pp. 76-77. Ten issues, between 1969 and 1982, for which, among other collaborations, she published and edition of 15 copies of 1974, embroidered in Plexiglas. Visual Poetry Anthology: 133 Poets from 25 Countries, ed. G.J.de Rook, Utrecht, Bert Bakker Den Haag, 1975. Robert Filliou cit. in Moeglin-Delcroix, Esthétique…, p. 74. Artists like Dieter Roth, Jochen Gerz, Paul-Armand Gette, Herman de Vries, and Filliou came from the field of sound or concrete poetry—much like Broodthaers started his career as a poet. In this context, there is an intimate relation between the production of artist’s books and concrete and visual poetry—and this phenomena was also felt in Portugal: in the books by Melo e Castro, Ana Hatherly, Salette Tavares, and other author from Madeira, who published many books, António Aragão; in the quality of the Cadernos de Poesia Experimental, Po-Ex 1 (1964) and 2 (1966), edited by Herberto Helder and Melo e Castro; in the magazine Operação (1967), edited by Melo e Castro—with cover by João Vieira; in the magazine Hidra I (1967) and II (1969)… Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, New York, Verso, 1998, p. 208. See Moeglin-Delcroix, Esthétique…, p. 81. “Montage, mon bon souci” is a sentence Goddard repeats numerous times in his Histoire(s) du cinéma. This mode of relating to reality is not only in the work, but in the way Lourdes organizes her life: Lourdes has notebooks where she catalogs her artworks, by technique or by phases,

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and there she details where they are, who owns them, and what exhibits they have been featured in. Moeglin-Delcroix, Idem, p. 185. Ibidem, p. 200. Annette Messager in Moeglin-Delcroix, Esthétique…, p. 203. As Georges Didi-Huberman wrote in regards to the relation between the archive and the atlas: “the archive asks us, rightly, to face the question of the unending and the unknowable. But the atlas, by its own options—or more exactly, by its assemblage—turns visible the unending and the unknowable, as they are”. Georges Didi-Huberman, “Atlas. Inquieta gaya ciencia” in Atlas. Como llevar el mundo a cuestas?, Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2010, p. 187. Just like Dieter Roth, the creator of numerous artist’s books, and born in the same year as Lourdes, abundantly uses newspaper and magazine clippings in order to produce a “poor art” and not luxury books. Like Ed Ruscha, Lourdes was interested in collecting things on a single topic, but Lourdes avoids minimalist seriality or the imperious need to publish according the usual rules of the publishing industry. Lourdes, as did Dieter Roth, published in the Daily-Bul and in Rainer Verlag. Lourdes never managed to meet Roth personally, but she knew his books. Roth went after an industrial finish, even in their first one off editions, Lourdes doesn’t stray from the artisanal character. The presence of her hand, of error, of imprecision. On the other side, Roth focused almost exclusively on this technique, while Lourdes not. “L’humour qui est certes la plus discrète de toutes les utopies, ou tout au moin la renferme, ne se réifie pas et sa sereine pertinence ne fait pas allusion à quelque chose qui se situe en dehors de la réalité, mais intensifie en celle-ci l’écho de son état final possible—tout empreint de légèreté, parcouru par la sève du Pouvoir-être-autrement, de l’Être-autre-dansl’essence […].” Ernst Bloch, Le principe Espérance II. Les épures d’un monde meilleur. Paris, Gallimard, 1982, p. 521. Lourdes still managed to meet Duchamp, in Paris, indeed he visited the exhibition La fête à la Gioconde sous le (haut) patronage de sa transcendence G.M.O.G.G. Marcel Duchamp, Paris (1965), in which she actively participated. The poster of the exhibition, which was made by Lourdes, is also a good example of her inventive use of typography. José de Almada Negreiros, “Direcção Única” in Manifestos e Conferências, Lisbon, Assírio & Alvim (Col. “Obra Literária de José de Almada Negreiros”, vol. 5, ed. F.C. Martins, L.M. Gaspar, M.P. Santos, S.A. Ferreira), 2006, p. 167. Simone Weil, La pesanteur et la grâce, Paris, Plon, 1988, p. 138. “L’attention de l’esprit […] est la prière naturelle que l’on fait au véritable Maître de tous les hommes, pour en recevoir quelque instruction”, Malebranche, Œuvre Complète, t. II, Paris, Vrin, 1977, p. 453.


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Lourdes Castro, Sombra projetada David Medalla | Projected Shadow David Medalla, 1968, 50 × 50 × 8 cm, acrílico sobre plexiglas. Coleção E.H.

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Books and Scenes amid the Theater of Screens and Shadows The Artist’s Books of Lourdes Castro Johanna Drucker

Lourdes Castro’s engagement with books as a primary mode of artistic expression has been persistent across many phases of her career. In the codices she has made, we can track her thought processes, as if their smaller scale were a staging area as well as a broad conceptual horizon for her thinking through and about those plays of presence, absence, and fleeting trace that are the essence of her work. The book is a scene for Castro, a situation framed for and by an activity that leaves its imprint on the receptive surface. Her range of material engagements constitutes a veritable inventory of techniques—calligraphy, serigraphy, collage, stitching, and photography are all components of her intellectual palette, media of conception as well as production. From the earliest poem books, hand written and modest transcriptions of works with which she had an intimate relation, to the larger, bolder, brightly silkscreen pages of later projects, she has made one innovative intervention after another, leaving a rich assembly of books in the wake of her active aesthetic inquiry. In the late 1950s, when Castro first began making books, the idea that an artist would make a book as a primary work of art was still unusual. Printers and publishers made books. Artists might have an exhibition catalogue, or publish pieces in a journal or magazine. They might, if sufficiently well known, have a monograph devoted to their work, printed on glossy paper with an essay written by a critic or curator. They might contribute images to accompany the text of a classic or contemporary poet in the vein of fine press or livre d’artiste publications. But create a book as an original work of art? Her earliest forays into book production are modest enough in scale, but already filled with conceptual dimensions that make a prescient link between prevailing sensibilities of the period and the trends in the arts just ahead. The collaged piece, Um Livro da Ilha da Madeira, made in 1956, along with the other mixed media works produced in the same decade, Calendário (1956), Um Livro (1957), already and immediately push against conventional limits. These early efforts were harbingers of the varied investigation ahead. By 1971, when she creates the fully achieved work, Amôr, it shows a full understanding of the book as a conceptual and physical object. Her engagement with sequence and turnings, two basic features of the codex format, demonstrates that Amôr is not a just a book incidentally, by convenience, but specifically, by design. Amôr uses the fundamental structure of the book, its bound sheets in their fixed relation, as a way to create the text as an artifact of stitching. The basic paradox—that a sheet of paper has two different sides that can be linked through piercing so they become unified in their difference—is at the heart of this book. Castro pricked the endpoints and cross-points for the strokes necessary to stitch the single word, “AMÔR”, into the recto of the opening page of the book. On the verso of that page, the stitch pattern

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reads as nonsense, a translation of the word made by the path of the thread through the holes. The physicality of the page’s identity is contradicted by the autonomy of its two surfaces, and Castro’s work takes this principle into an extensive, step by step, deconstruction as each page in succession uses the pattern in the back side thread as the point of departure for the next stitch pattern. The process is conceptual, and executed in a clear, clean sequence of moves that make their point with aesthetic force, seductive to the eye which is teasing out the ideational motivation driving the work. Embroidery and stitchwork become elements in other projects, such as Goethe (1971), and Sombra (1971), which also use the theme of pattern and pricking as core features. But to go back to the circumstances of Castro’s first interventions in the book format, in the 1950s, we need to recall the place of books within the historical avant-garde. Among the artists of the early 20th century avant-garde, particularly in the context of Russian Futurism, books were a crucial mode of aesthetic expression. But these often ephemeral, hand-made, works in very small editions were very little known in the 1950s. Similarly, though Dada and Italian Futurist publications had left an impression of their radically innovative typography and collage sensibility in the general historical awareness, they were associated with another era. Independent publishing had been a crucial part of literary and activist movements since the 19th century (religious and political broadsides and pamphleteering have an even longer history). But though artists and writers had often had editorial or aesthetic vision that resulted in books, they had remained far from the manual and mechanical production scenes of printing and publication. The darkroom, atelier, and studio were, by definition, sites where unique and precious objects were made. Even when multiples were produced, they were signed and numbered according to protocols of printmaking or photography, not distributed through industrial methods of mass production. So when Lourdes Castro began making small book works from buttons and cloth, such as 1.2.3.4. (1959), or from labels and notes such as Livro de Cozinha (1961), or from pre-printed cahiers with their cover images and numbered pages, or Chinese notebooks gridded and marked with characters, she was creating intimately scaled art objects in the codex form in a manner that, though not without precedent, was still unusual. The associations of her collaged elements are extraaesthetic, they do not belong to the universe of oil paint in tubes or chalk pastel, canvas or bronze casting. Like the artists who were starting to be associated with “hand-painted” Pop art, she was pulling on the vernacular and commercial realm for her iconography. Album (1962) references the personal, family, scrapbook and its conventions and formal features, while shifting the object towards an aesthetic status, changing its framework and identity.


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Since the early 20th century, artists associated with major movements in modernism, Pablo Picasso, Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp, and the imaginative Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven had incorporated actual materials into works of art. Rope, newspaper, labels, bicycle wheels and horns, birdcages and bottle-racks had all appeared as elements or objects of fine art. These had been put into sculptures and collages or performance props. With only a few exceptions, however, had the codex book been drawn into the innovative propositions that distinguished the avant-garde’s most radical formalist vocabulary. So while foreign objects and unusual materials were no longer a novelty, it was these personal and innovative approaches to the codex format that made Castro’s earliest books so unusual and established a foundation for lifelong engagement with the artist’s book. The titles of these pamphlet books from the late 1950s R.M. Rilke: Vom Stundenbuch (1957), Paul Éluard: L’amoreuse (1958), and Rimbaud: Le bateau ivre (1958), and numerous others citing these poets and Apollinaire, signal Castro’s affection for the poem-texts from each of these writers that comprise the contents of these works. Handwritten, in a personal, looping, script, they are exercises in appreciation and presentation. The act of transcribing, like that of translating or reading aloud, is a means of engaging word-by-word, letter-by-letter, with a text. The poet’s thoughts are reinscribed, remade by the hand of the artist. In one of the Rilke works the colors of the pages and openings without text punctuate the sequence of the poem, while the final turning brings us to the image of a moon, or moon-like white orb, glowing as surely as if it were in the dark night sky. Castro has used the theatrical quality of the codex to stage the poem, drawing on the scenographic potential of the book structure to amplify the poem’s effect. Artists know full well that books are not just containers for content, vehicles of communication, or neutral forms. They have temporal, spatial, and material dimensions that create complex interrelations among elements put into play within the bound structure. And they are mobile objects, portable assemblages able to be produced using any available means and in a multiplicity of circumstances. For an artist moving through various locations, without sustained access to a wellestablished studio or shop, as Castro was for the early phase of her life, the process of making small codex books has a journalistic and documentary appeal as well. Things picked up in transit, ephemera acquired in one place and carried to another, become materials available for combination into a collaged assembly in which the juxtapositions of things makes use of the unlikely proximity to full effect. So the first books of her practice, these small works of combined elements, are opportunistic in the best sense, taking full advantage of the combination of circumstance and sensibility to craft intimate statements in material form. The apparently simple gesture of attaching petals to the pages of Genealogie de Jesus (1958), for instance, preserves the sense of transience, and the ability of a book to trap a moment in its covers, hold it for future time. But in Um Livro (1957) the collage flirts with a more dangerous set of associations, its matches carefully held in place unstruck, but waiting, closed within the long thing black case, a promise or threat latent and unfulfilled. Collage remained a useful technique for Castro, even after her use of silkscreen and cut Perspex had introduced new formal elements into her book production. For instance, in a work from period, Um Livro de Modas (1956), collaged images of fashion are pasted into the pages. This might well be a quotation of Charles Baudelaire’s famous use of

the fashion-conscious journalist-painter Constantin Guys as his emblematic “painter of modern life.” For the links between art and fashion in the modern period are many, and as pop art came increasingly to the fore, the dialogue between these domains increased in ways that Castro might already have intuited. In a very different manner, attention to time as a conventional but arbitrary system, with its own relation to ephemerality, is marked in Castro’s whimsical calendar work mentioned earlier, Calendário (1956), in which the months are comprised only of selective days, as if picking some moments rather than having to accept the dictates of the usual grid might provide some freedom in the inevitable march of time. The artist’s intervention in the grid speaks volumes about the conceptual relation to modernist formalisms, as she exposes the productive tension between choice and system, the grid as a programmatic format and the artist’s ability to play with this convention as surely as with others. The first small books made in the late 1950s and early 1960s anticipated the work to come, of the long-term commitment to and engagement with the codex. Innovative as they are, they explore a whole host of possibilities without fixing on any particular mode of work. Castro’s approach is often light and whimsical. Fromages assortis (1962) makes clear in the use of one variant of a mechanical metal image after another on the pages of the book. What is assortis here is an idea, and the concept of difference drives the work, playing with the expectations of the reader who has to reconcile the mental image of the collaged objects and the mechanical forms of the actual encounter. By the early 1960s, the shadows and outlines begin to appear in the openings and turnings of her books. Shapes in fine lines and heavier ones, shaped like recognizable things, but things made deliberately absent, start to float across the pages. In place of the assemblage of material riches, we see suggested and hinted objects, no longer tactile, but instead, increasingly conceptual, almost virtual in their ability to be present without weight or substance. These outlines flit through the books, appearing in the scenes of the page, creeping in at the edges and out from the gutters, and then onto the center stage. The lines are like sketches to position props, or traces around things in motion, like the objects on the table in Daniel Spoerri’s the Anecdoted Topography of Chance (1966), or the shadows traced in Duchamp’s Large Glass, these forms are not informel as much as noncorporeal. The profiles and footprints of objects stand in for their source objects. P.P. “O-E”, made with Bernard Heidsieck, (1958, 1971), uses plexiglass panes to create a sense of depth within a set of flat layers, to create volume across the stack of planes. Again, a fundamental contradiction of a codex’s structure and form are revealed—that of surface as depth, of our attention to the page as an inscriptional support that is itself an element of a physical, dimensional, object. Gradually the notion of the missing object begins to dominate Castro’s work, to become a language of presence and absence in play, a fully developed shadow puppet world of possibilities, “the theater of screens and shadows”. That phrase occurs repeatedly in titles of works and projects, invoking the dramatic play of outlined presence and substantial absence at the heart of Lourdes Castro’s elegant conceptual practice. Ombres transparentes (1967) fully realizes these tenets of shadow and sequence, its silhouettes more replete than ghostly. Across the decades since they were made, these artist’s books and images speak with a distilled precision, their outlines and silkscreen color as fresh and vivid as in the moment of first making. Silkscreen was a commercial

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printing technique that found artistic favor in the 1960s for its flat rich hot pigments. Now it has the luster of an eclipsed and almost obsolete technology, as reminiscent of another era as sepia photographs and hand-colored prints are of their periods of graphic art. The sheer graphical force of these images is so well-served by the screen-print method that it is hard to conceive of them executed in any other way—or even, composed with any other output in mind. They pop like the art of their era, an artifact of the 1960s, when the search for an artistic expression combining a minimalist distillation with a hip and consumable rich reference to the worlds of fashion and design pushed conceptual work into a vivid tonality. The works are so engaging, so immediate, that it is interesting to consider how they continue to escape nostalgia and past-tense associations even as they communicate so directly about the specific historical epoch of their original production. Hand-painted pop art appeared on the scene in the late 1950s with a wild rush of enthusiasm for the icons of mass culture as well it the techniques. Conceptual art and other procedurally driven approaches to art production would follow in the early 1960s, announced by Sol Lewitt’s “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” (1967) and related proclamations about minimalism such as Donald Judd’s “Specific Objects” (1965). The last vestiges of post-WWII abstraction, art informel, and art primitif, all prompted by wartime experience and response, began to be eclipsed by a very different aesthetic of surface and image, rather than the expressions of interior life or archetypes of experience. Social life and cultural signs taken as style replaced those of longing, loss, or the record of emotional existence. It was in this period, with its shift to machine fabrication and technologies of commercial production that the contemporary artists book was born. In her beautiful Espèce de catalogue (1962) work, these aesthetic threads all come together, as she gathered the pop and the personal, the mechanical and the industrial, the conceptual and the handmade all into a single work. Silver throughout, the book makes use of the paint in every possible way – as edge, as silhouette, to isolate one object among others, or to unify the whole. Metallic paint, with all its own industrial associations, pushes against the preciousness of the book with a cool, hard edge. For Castro’s work always remains intellectual, and no matter how personal the smaller elements might be, how well she seems to know the figures whose profiles she draws, or where the collage elements came from in her books, she flattens their affect with a formal treatment, not presenting them as diaristic, personal tales to which one might eventually be admitted by some key, but instead, as works whose presentation is complete, ready to be seen, viewed, engaged as works, as books any reader might enter because they are realized as formal, intellectual, aesthetic scenes compiled from objects and artifacts familiar and fully legible to the viewer. By the 1960s, the earlier precedents in the form of avant-garde work, or livres d’artistes and private presses mentioned above, were eclipsed by a new, very cool, very minimal, very industrial form of artist’s publication. In this new mode, affect was eliminated in favor of mass-produced multiples making use of the most neutral, commercial, production means. All association with the craft of the book, with the long history of handwork in printing and binding and papermaking, was banished in favor of a flat, factory-like product. With some historical distance, we can see that the paradox is that the more apparently neutral the mode of production, the more exquisitely individual artistic sensibility registers. Looking at the work that Lourdes Castro began to

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make in the late 1950s and early 1960s, what is striking is how immediately personal it is, how distinct and unique its signature moves, even as she is clearly working in the pop and conceptual frameworks. In the 1960s, the tone of graphics shifted dramatically. Bright hot colors, simple shapes, brilliant hues, and a very hip pop consumable sensibility burst into view. The pages of her 1963 Voyelles de Rimbaud flash with fluorescent hues that are nowhere evident a decade earlier. The day-glo colors are striking by contrast to the subdued tones of the earlier version. Everywhere in fashion, advertising, mass culture and fine art the world of visual culture became saturated with color. New technologies for print production boosted the possibilities for ink— four-color separation, high-speed offset presses, and new synthetic dyes brought greater range into the spectrum. But traditional print formats existed in a hierarchy of legitimacy, with engraving still holding the highest place in traditional fine arts. The skill of the engraver, hand with burin cutting into copper, steel, and making the well-tuned lines remained the virtuoso of the fine print world. Etching, with its cheating acids, had become acceptable as a medium in the 19th century, accessorized with aquatint, mezzotint, and other tonal means. The quest for a way to reproduce photography in print form had pushed all manner of experiments, some of which became part of the tools for transfer of images and their reproduction in multiple forms. Lithography, particularly chromolithography, had had its main career in the realm of advertising and commercial work, with a business in commercial prints— sentimental, informational, or utilitarian. But chromolithography, the people’s art, was a debased medium in the market of fine art. Only very very slowly did lithography gain a toehold in fine art ateliers and workshops. But silkscreen was another story, so clearly and solely associated with sign making techniques. Lowly, inexpensive, accessible and utterly commercial in its application, silkscreen was among the last of the analogue print technologies to find acceptance. In New York City, the now famous Chiron Press became the site of silk-screen production for artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and others. The shock effect of the imagery and technique combined served the emerging pop art sensibility, and silkscreen prints became a distinctive hallmark of the early 1960s. Looking at Lourdes Castro’s vivid screen prints at the distance of fifty years, one is struck by the opaque flatness of their surface, by the rich density of those solid areas of color, only possible when ink is squeezed through a screen with the sensual thickness of heavy cream and left to congeal. They are fresh and bright, and yet, their combination of hot color and cool conceptualism, their deliberateness and their openness creates an association with that stylish world of the 1960s. The crossed legs and well-poised arms, striking the stance of the smoker’s posture, are part of a body language now regulated by a very different set of social expectations and norms. Head bent forward towards the cigarette, hand dropped casually between breaths and drags, these are gestures that suggest the nightclub and the disco, with a certain freedom from social constraints and gendered ones as well, and a fluidity within cultural realms where talk, exchange, intellectual and artistic life are the common currency of a sophisticated milieu. But other projects have a political subtext, the threat of un-struck matches, the collaged images from newspaper and journal, the march of colors and the iconography of displacement and longing. Not everything is surface, and the long trail of associations weaves across personal experience and generational conditions of displacement even as the artist


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moves through scenes of intensely rich artistic conversation and exchange in foreign sites. But her engagement with the play of absence and presence is most fully realized in the various Ombres works in the 1960s and 1970s. Ombreportée rosefluo (1968) and Ombres transparentes (1967) are fully realized works in the book and portfolio format. They take the long-standing interest Castro had in using the staged scene of page and book space to capture precise profile shadows. The works are replete, articulate, their understanding of scale and precision absolutely tuned to the presentation of work in the book format. Apparently simple, they are elegantly reduced, distilled, and take the aesthetic provocations of her earlier experiments and persistent innovations into realized form. Textless, but not mute, they seem to have caught the echo of an era, and one hears the clinking glasses, strains of conversation, threads of music in the background of a cosmopolitan life inhabited by these figures. That full ground is gone. The precise shapes of absence remain, tracked and recorded. By the 1960s, Castro’s travels had brought her into contact with major figures of conceptual art for whom books were a significant part of artistic practice, such as Robert Filliou and Jan Voss. With her then partner René Bertholo, Castro created a silk-screen magazine, KWY (the title composed, like her work, of a play with absence as these are the three letters that do not appear in the Portuguese and French language) and perhaps it was the graphic force and contrast possible with opaque ink that caught her imagination. Or maybe it was the dependence on stencils that is central to silkscreen production that reinforced her understanding of the power of the silhouette. The effect on her work was long-term, and the outlines of shape and shadow were refined and reworked to exquisite perfection in her projects in and out of the book format across the subsequent decades. If her interest in material innovation remained, it became absorbed into the shadow plays and open forms of her various installation and performance works. Mining the rich vocabulary of possibilities, she created a body of bodiless works, books of carefully delineated empty spaces redolent with suggestive associations. The shadows of her theater are anything but shades. They are full traces of presences, not signs of something missing. We have no difficulty reading the careful silhouettes. The details provoke the eye and mind and call forth a myriad of readings. But if absence is “cool” and ink is “hot” in the terms Marshall McLuhan coined and used to full advantage in speaking of media, then Castro’s range is not only organized between these binary poles. The books from her collection exhibit variety. To reiterate, the early small handwritten and printed transcriptions of texts of modern poets—Paul Éluard, Arthur Rimbaud, and others—are intimate without being personal. They gesture at the tradition of small press and literary publishing while still taking full advantage of appreciation of paper and calligraphic writing to re-inscribe the poem-texts in pamphlet form. Her own jottings and works are as often drawn into these unique notebooks as printed, and they hover on a line between sketchbook notes and oneof-a-kind books. They sometimes have an incidental quality, as if conceived in a moment of reflection or contemplation, as a lovely 1984 booklet, Quinta do Monte, with squares of color filling its grid and a fragment of a poem, with a personal note, added below. A work? Deliberate? Planned? Or a work as evidence of a process, the artist thinking in painted notes. Books have a certain autonomy to them, however, a capacity to be self-contained, complete, and to move across the gaps of

time that connect the moment of their production to the many moments of reception. Seen and seen again, the works take on a different aspect in each viewing, as if struck by a line of perception connecting a past with a present into the future. The surprise of opening remains, renewed in each encounter, as a cover made of paper, cloth, decorated or left unadorned, opens to reveal the artist’s trace within. Unlike a painting, print, or installation, offered for view, the book requires and requests an act of engagement, the hand of the reader as well as the eye is invited into the experience. So Castro’s inventory of offerings remains, full of potential, waiting for each viewer to be surprised anew. At the height of conceptual and pop art engagements with the book, Castro used the codex as part of a larger aesthetic enterprise, a travelling theatrical installation that let her make use of silhouetted veils, curtains, and illusions in space as well as on the page, trapping the very outlined absences that went unfilled in the three-dimensional projections. But in the books, the silhouettes perform their fort-da game with unresolvable ambiguity, fully there, replete, detailed, and specific in their highly defined absence. The book is a space of memory, filled with traces, while the spaces of light and performance in places vanish, fleeting as the very suggestion they provoke. How interesting that the once ephemeral seeming artists’ book has become the most permanent record of Castro’s aesthetic, rich in its capacities to bring those lost moments before our eyes. And how compelling they are, vivid, bright, and so specific in their choice of burnt orange and turquoise, flat blacks and brilliant whites, as if the figures they contain had just left the scene, so recently, so immediately, so just-a-second ago, that their imprint in air and space has not yet vanished, but still holds, configured in air and time. And so they are, in these slight bound volumes, still present. Something of the time capsule inheres in seeing these works exposed in the broad view of an exhibition. The earliest works have an intimacy to them that makes display feel almost like an affront to their personal tone, even if they contain very little personal information. And the later works, polished, finished, sealed against invasion and investigation by concealing exactly what they reveal, are messages from another era. Even the recent work bears some of the same imprint of an aesthetic of coolness and distance combined with the hot color and delicately chosen materials. But sometimes, among all the many works and images, something very personal, very revealing does appear— like the small work in which the artist worked out the two terms of her name, using the codex opening almost like a religious diptych, to depict the religious associations of “Lourdes” next to the political ones of “Castro” in icons recognizable across many generations and cultures. And in such a work we see the way the artist used the codex for its combination of enclosure and exposure, of protection and revelation, as a form whose potential for concealment was and is as potent as its ability to communicate across time and space. So the books remain, the fully present evidence of many complicated forms of absence with which Castro has been concerned for more than half a century of productive work. Los Angeles, 2015

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The Books The Words The Things José Luís Por fírio

What is a book? I will start by telling two tales of chance and consequence, both featuring children, both involving books, their use and mystery. These stories took place a long time ago, one with me as the protagonist and the other with the sister of a great friend of mine, Madalena Cabral. I’ve always lived surrounded by books. First my parents’ books, and then my own. I have an old and pristine memory of them that goes back to the almost unimaginable times before I learnt how to read. I can clearly see the image of a book my father used to open and stare at, night after night. On its pages, the book had these parallel dark lines looking all the same and utterly meaningless to me. My father would gawk at them for a long time, then he would turn the page, and then another one, always staring at those dark lines where nothing seemed to happen. One night I bit his ear and he jumped in shock and pain. I laughed at first but my amusement quickly transformed into fear. Calm as always, my mother intervened and made me realize I had hurt my father. It was true, the mark of that bite would be there for the rest of his life, a mark that, many decades later, only I would be able to recognize. I was four years old and didn’t know how to read. Even if in my original memory it is nothing more than an enigma, something obscure and incomprehensible; I now know the book was a volume of the complete works of Ortega y Gasset, which I keep till this day. The protagonist of the second story was a little girl who, while giving her first steps in reading, kept tearing out the pages of the books as soon as she was finished with them. When asked why she was doing that, she simply said: “Already read them.” As soon as the pages fulfilled their function, she would toss them away, throwing them into the great river of time and oblivion. I believe that, in their own way, Lourdes’s Books are part of this mystery, even though we can also see them as opposites to these stories—as the unraveling of a hidden enigma where words are often things, as a collection of different elements floating in the river of time and oblivion, a kind of flowing alluvium momentarily stopped in time to our pleasure and delight.

Lourdes’s Books We can consider all the Books of Lourdes Castro as part of a dual and contradictory process of estrangement and approximation. Estrangement Lourdes’s Books are part of a process of estrangement because they can be included in a continuity of ruptures that signal a number of decisive shifts in the life of this artist:

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Leaving Madeira, her native island; Dropping out from the School of Fine Arts, where she just wouldn’t fit in (thankfully!); Leaving Portugal, like an entire generation of artists; Renouncing painting. We just have to look at her friends and accomplices in KWY, a ten year adventure (1958-1968) throughout Europe and with Paris at its center, to see that almost all of them would eventually reject painting, totally or partially, and work—even if temporarily—with words or a special calligraphy: René Bertholo, Jan Voss, João Vieira, Gonçalo Duarte, José Escada, Costa Pinheiro, only leaving out Christo, who started wrapping everything: paintings, sculptures, and even books. Lourdes’s estrangement, or successive estrangements, are a vital necessity and a continuous learning where life and art associate without dissociating. Approximation To embroider, to sew, to copy a poem, to save a petal, to glue an image, a sticker, a clipping, little things; all these actions are reminiscent of a universe populated by a not very distant ancestry of grandmothers and great-grandmothers—always women. Among the most traditional feminine gifts and the originality the collector—also old, but singular—inventing paintings made with wool, or with sea shells and fish scales, or books of visual memories that represent books of hours, or strictly individual reliquaries where postcard and drawing confront each other, are glued and sewed to each other, where art and craftsmanship conflate in pondered and conscious actions, physically close but clearly different from outsider art. To be honest, Lourdes is not really close to these seemingly traditional works of art, she’s already there, because these works have always been part of her life, part of her homeland and Island, to which she eventually returned with the knowledge of many new experiences. It was necessary to leave in order to come back home, to be able to say all these things in these books, not as a system, but as an invention, as word-things, an orality fixed on the impermanence of pages that fold and unfold. These books that designate the world in its infinite things remind me of a great writer who does the same: João Guimarães Rosa. He writes about what he knows, the Sertão, the Cattle, the Beasts and the Plants, but knowing that each beast, each plant leaf, each chirping sound, is one and is new. The fields can be the General fields, like the Island is to Lourdes, but each beast is that particular beast, just like each person is always that particular person, just like these books are a description of the world with no possible index, General Fields of an endless multiplicity. Arco do Cego, August 17, 2015


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