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Land Art Cascais 2011

Fifty years have gone by and following the example of the two previous editions of Land Art Cascais, the exhibition has returned to ask us yet again about the possibilities of appropriating the founding attitudes of Land Art today. Fernanda Fragateiro and Samuel Rama, had created at Quinta do Pisão, original works specially conceived for the event in the rural space.

Both artists had chosen, or rather, have recorded these two characteristics. Fernanda Fragateiro whose career and professional trajectory have led her to sporadically deal with similar situations, had chosen to base her land art on a tumble-down building that once acted a barn for farming and livestock. The walls of the ruin were painted white and now they show the outlines of animals that inhabit and go to the farm. The work is called Through the Landscape #2. At the same time, she uses a dense nearby copse of eucalyptus where the trees are tied to each other using string, simulating a changeable shifting horizon thus involving the spectator in an implicit invitation to contemplate the landscape. By doing so, it calls up the landscape as an independent genre in painting with its peak period during Romanticism.

Drawing Suspended (In Time) is the second piece of land art by this artist and it is also a drawing although without resorting to a two-dimensional scale and allows the visitor to walk around it, going indoors and coming outdoors. Almost paradoxically it contains an appeal for permanence despite the apparent frailty of its materials, as well as the change that the landscape constantly undergoes from the visitor's stance in terms of lighting conditions and the air's moisture. Samuel Rama's land art invites the kind of change which Robert Smithson held so dear. Indeed, the artist chose architecture as the basis of his work, creating three pieces that share the common title Reflexive Architectures and that are able to take their place in the landscape as autonomous objects.

The first of these works is composed of a structure that holds up a vegetal cover making it possible to have a picturesque view, so the author says, of the surrounding landscape and at the same time provide him/her with an unusual view of the park. The other two creations are situated in one of the limestone kilns and an old lime storehouse. One of the earthworks comprises a furrow sculptured in the ground that harmonises with the architectural features of the spaces, while the other consists of a lime sphere that has been baked hard and which the visitor moves at will. In doing so, memories are conjured up of activities long gone, eliminating the definition about the work's unchangeable image right from the start: as if it were a reflection in the mirror of time, Samuel Rama's architecture provides a scintillating view of time gone by and its permanence in the present in which we are living.

- Luísa Soares de Oliveira

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