ALVORADA was published alongside João Maria Gusmão’s exhibition of the same title at Sies + Höke in 2022.
The title, Alvorada, is Portuguese for the first light of the day; it means daybreak, but it also conveys the wakeup call of the singing rooster and the chant of the morning birds. It sets the mood for a conceptual phantasmagoria resting at the limits of visibility and representation. Key to the exhibition is an investigation of the spectral dimension in film and photography, accentuating the paradoxical and poetic aspects of images and objects that are static or moving.
The publication contains a collection of short stories by the artist, written in the vein of satirical literature. The magical anecdotes – fairy tales gone wild with art history, philosophy and the theatre of the absurd – offer an insight into the artworks in the exhibition, in particular the photographs, which are also reproduced in this booklet. The enlarged photographic images of miniature calligraphic drawings, which the artist created on post-it notes, are concerned with a metaphysical inquiry into the phantasmatic nature of imagery, questioning ideas of illusion and reality, darkness and light, stillness and motion.
The booklet is published both in Portuguese and English, with two covers in either language and texts inverted to meet in the centre of the publication. It contains the artist’s texts alongside 15 photographic reproductions of calligraphic drawings by Gusmão and is covered in a pale yellow banderole, the colour of which refers to the exhibition design.