Daniel Barroca

1976, Lisbon, Portugal
Artist’ website ➚
More info at: Galeria Fernando Santos, Porto / Gramatura, São Paulo

Awards and residencies
2012 Casa Tomada (with the support of Fundação EDP), São Paulo, Brasil. / 2010/11 Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Fellowship, Lisbon, Portugal. / 2009 QBox Gallery Residency Program, Athens/Kea, Greece. / 2007/08 Künstlerhaus Bethanien International Studio Program (João Hogan Fellowship, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian), Berlin, Germany. Runner Up Award in Experimental Film Category, IFCT, Washington DC, USA. / 2006 Visual Arts Course, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal. / 2003/04 União Latina Award for the Young Creation in Visual Arts, Portugal. / 2003_04 / Resident Artist at the Spanish Academy in Rome, Italy

Selected solo exhibitions (2012-2009)
*2011 Riot, Galeria Fernando Santos, Porto, PT*2010 Dripping Hand (curated by Mauro Cerqueira and André Sousa), A Certain Lack of Coherence, Porto, PT. / Intervalo / Nothingness, (curated by Nuno Faria), Galeria de Arte Convento Espírito Santo, Loulé, PT. / The Covered, Erased or Destroyed Films (curated by Beate Cegielska), Galleri Image, Aarhus, DK
*2009 The Sleepers / Os Adormecidos (curated by Beniamino Foschini), Qbox Gallery, Athens, GR. / Recolhendo os Ossos / Collecting the Bones (curated by Nuno Faria), Galeria Fernando Santos, Porto, PT. / Artefacto II, The Mews – Room 1 (curated by Nuno Centeno and Carlos Noronha Feio), London, UK. / Sem Chão #9, 7DaysProject (project curated by Margarida Mendes), Round the Corner – Teatro da Trindade, Lisboa, PT

Selected group exhibitions (2012-2009)
*2013 Conversation Pieces (curated by Suzanne Titz), Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, DE. / Do Silêncio a um outro hino (curated by Rui Mourão), Centro Cultural Português da Praia, Cidade da Praia / Centro Cultural do Mindelo, Mindelo, CV
*2012 Rxy (curated by Anna Babini), Galleria Comunale della Molinella, Faenza, IT. / Complexo Flexor (curated by Kiki Mazocheli), Gramatura, São Paulo, BR. / O Efeito da Frase (curated by Ana Maria Maia), Museu Murillo La Greca, Recife, BR. / Atelier Aberto #6, Casa Tomada, São Paulo, BR. / Beyond History / Para Além da História (curated by Nuno Faria), CIAJG, Guimarães, PT. / Cinema: New Device (curated by Karina Karaeva), NCCA, Moscow, RU. / Arte Portuguesa do Século XX 1960 – 2010, MNAC, Lisboa, PT
*2011 RijksakademieOpen2011, Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, NL. / Artists – Historians; Arquives, Memories and Documental Explorations (curated by Teresa Castro) – DocLisboa, Cinema São Jorge, Lisboa, PT. / On Not To, Galeria Fernando Santos, Porto, PT. Atlantic Ocean – Portuguese and Brazilian Film/Video Art (curated by Marisol Tirelli Rivera), Tesol International, New York, US. / Tromp Le Monde (curated by Thomas Raat), Transit, Mechelen, BE. / Square Eyes (curated by André Sousa), CAZ – Cornwall Autonomous Zone, Cornwall, UK. / Not Yet / Ainda Não (curated by Filipa Ramos and António Contador), The Barber Shop, Lisboa, PT
*2010 Rijksakademie Open 2010, Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, NL. / Negativo – Positivo (curated by João Pinharanda), Museum of Moving Image, Leiria, PT. / Look Up! (curated by David Barro), Palácio Pinto Leite, Porto, PT. / Res Pública (curated by Leonor Nazaré and Helena de Freitas), CAM – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa, PT. / Vestígio II (curated by Carlos Noronha Feio and Romeu Gonçalves), Pavilhão 58 – Hospital Júlio de Matos, Lisboa, PT. / A Culpa Não é Minha- Works from António Cachola Collection (curated by Eric Corne), Museu Colecção Berardo, Lisboa, PT. / Jogo de Espelhos (curated by João Pinharanda), MACE, Elvas, PT
*2009 The Mews Drawing Salon (curated by Carlos Noronha Feio), The Mews, London, UK. / Incipit., La Diagonale, Roma, IT. / 5 Estrelas (curated by Carlos Correia), ArteIlimitada, Lisboa, PT. / O Vitrinário da Boavista (curated by Agostinho Gonçalves), Rua da Boavista, Lisboa, PT. / Omaggio a Pound: ritratti ed altro, Libreria la Diagonale (curated by Gabriele Stocchi), Roma, IT. / Drawing by Numbers (collaboration with Gonçalo Barreiros)(curated by Vasco Barata), Avenida, Lisboa, PT. / Movie Painting (curated by Karina Karaeva and Patsyukov Vitaly), NCCA, Moscow, RU


The intensity of silence by Nicoletta Daldanise

Can cancellation underline the value of memory and things in themselves? This is one of the issues developed in conversation with Daniel Barroca. The Portuguese artist investigates history and reality with a frequent use of quotation and negation at the same time, that puts under discussion our present times too. The way we perceive the different layers of an object – as well as of a phenomenon – changes in relation to the context and the media through which we are receiving the information. So the “translation” that art can apply to reality becomes determinant, if we give the right attention to the process and the medium. Below some considerations about the aims of his practice, together with a charming personal description of Portugal in the 70’s and a little preview of the next project related with former dictatorships in Brazil. Rijksakademie was the starting point for this kind of research in terms of support for collecting materials, collaboration among residents and dialogue between the artist and other professionals of the Dutch institution along his two years of staying.

Nicoletta Daldanise: Let’s start to say that your works usually deal with the affirmation of bodies and objects in their presence, but I would rather specify in their negation most effectively. The technique of erasing details, deconstructing images and distracting the viewers with some noises leads to have an undistinguished aesthetical result with no reference at all to the original sources. Which is your personal relation with past, which are your interests in history? I would like to know more about your frequent references to the colonialist times for example.

Daniel Barroca: Erasing images of bodies and objects can stress the fact that a thing and its image are not the same. In daily life dealing with mass media I tend to confuse both things and I try to put it straight in my work. On the other hand I’m interested in the crude matter of reality, in the fact that nothing lasts forever, that everything decays. On a very basic way erasing the face of a figure in a found image seems to make it very clear through an aesthetical operation. Maybe I’m pointing the fact that time is unstoppable in a rather dramatic way. I come from a catholic culture so it’s very difficult not to look at images in this way. On the other hand erasing images can also be obstructing them, or an attempt to empty their visibility that in the end re-enhances their visibility. It’s very perverse but when it gets clear that something is disappearing it becomes more graspable. It’s an attempt to trigger memory not by referring directly to it but by using methods to forget that shows us in the end that it’s not possible to forget.

I was born two years after the 1974 carnation revolution in Portugal during a period officially called PREC (Revolutionary Period in Course) during which Portugal was becoming a communist republic in the ‘wrong’ end of Europe. That revolution was the end of a regime that was in power since 1926 and it was also the end of more or less 500 years of colonial history. My father was a soldier in the army during the war that became the last chapter of that history and that somehow made the militaries engage with the revolution. His whole generation carries the trauma of that war until today and until very recently all that past was buried under a very thick silence. I think this and the stories my grandmother told me about her father in 1st world war are the starting point for my interest in history.

ND: Your testing the limits of languages, crossing through all media, fields and times is very appreciated by the international artistic scene at the moment. Just sometimes I ask myself if this is the right time to be filled in with some contents through our actions, instead of getting images and memories empty to simply reuse them. In which way the pornography of daily life I found in a text by Ricardo Nicolau about your works is inverted through your artistic gestures?

DB: Crossing media is a very dynamic way of working, of activating processes of transformation in the work. The means of production are fully democratized, It’s possible to experiment in many ways and directions. Sometimes the possibilities are so varied that asking “why to do it?” brings up the reason not to and asking “why not?” brings up the reason to do it. There is a great deal of intuition in this decision and its criteria. Many times I’m much more interested in the process then in the result and this way of working is the expression of that.

I question a lot the need for materializing and the need of adding more “things” into this already stuffed world, I really see the need for dematerializing but I still don’t know so well how to do it. The actions that an artist can take as political responses to the world have almost no resonance outside the art context. On the other hand the exhibition space can be a place of possibilities and freedom where you confront yourself with “things” that activate your sense of being human. It can also be a sacred place where you can confront yourself with “things” that activate your sense of silent spirituality, etc… I think that what Ricardo Nicolau refers to is to an excess of explicit imagery that sneaks into our daily lives through mass media and eventually start regulating it by introducing models of behavior that flattens the experience. In general I try to resist that through my practice.

ND: Another crucial subject of your work is the “archeology of reproduction” (Thomas Wulffen), in the sense of the analysis of any discard that may occur in the translation of a concept through the selected media and how this process has an influence on its reception. I found it incredibly interesting and I would like to know better about the value you give to the technological possibilities of expression for art and furthermore which is the importance you reserve to the sound.

DB: I don’t know if I make the translation of a concept through media. Maybe for you my work operates that translation, you tell me that. I think I translate an image into another and that translation shapes the reading of it and that can lead to a reconceptualization of the image but this doesn’t mean that the starting point, for me, is to translate a concept. The reception of the work is a concern that is part of its making since the beginning. I do something and I place it in a certain way. That placement is an opened proposal not a formatted dogma, I propose a perspective on “that” work and after that the viewer does whatever he decides with it. I want my work to exist beyond my own reading of it.

The “archaeology of reproduction” is a very stimulating analysis that Thomas Wulffen makes of my work. I dig things out and I bury them back and eventually dig them out again. The technological mediation happens in that sense. I use technology to observe and to zoom in to the limit of visibility and then I use my hands to metabolize what I see. I swing between a tactile and a retinal experience or through other words between an organic and an analytical approach to images and matter. This combination, at some point, forms a pattern that turns into a process. Technology offers possibilities to feed the process and mostly to unfold and expand it. But to say the use of technology means to “reuse” technology in the sense that each artist reinvents technology for its own purposes. The use of sound is part of that expansion. My interest in sound was triggered by the audio recordings of poets such as Antonin Artaud, William Burroughs or Ezra Pound. At some point I was using sound to shape the intensity of silence. I saw this possibility after watching a movie by Carl Dreyer called “Vampyr” in which the border between silence and sound is intensely subtle.

ND: Tell me more about your projects at Rijksakademie in 2010-2011.

DB: In the first half of the residency I bluntly jumped into a visual research related to the use of violence in some moments in history. I was reading a book called “Os Judeus Portugueses” (“The Portuguese Jews”) by Carsten Wilke that had a lot to do with the idea of erasure in my work because it was telling me about a segment of the history of my country that I never heard or read before related to the way Jewish culture has been banned in the 15th century and how it has been suppressed from our historical narrative. Being in Amsterdam and passing by the Portuguese synagogue every day made this subject very much alive. This research resonated a lot in my studio practice and this subject contaminated many of the works I did in 2010, such as “Riot” or “Dripping Hand”. In the second year residency I got involved with an old subject for me, which is the Portuguese colonial war of the 70’s through the war photo album of my father. Again violence, suppression and obstructed memories. I used this material in previous works in 2008 but then at the RIjksakademie the urge to work with it came back and stroke me as a lightning. I took that collection of images in many directions and I used the technical possibilities available at the Rijksakademie to unfold the original images of the album into objects, drawings and large inkjet prints. The logic of that series of works was to turn the violence behind the images “against themselves”, to push them to a formal limit that could reconfigure their “encrypted” narrative. On the other hand I was experimenting on other possibilities of unfolding an archive, of disrupting its logic into an intuitive, organic (apparently chaotic?) set of operations to push it beyond the procedure of indexing. I didn’t want to turn an archive into another archive but to transform it into something else. The idea was to make it overflow its borders.

ND: Which kind of new possibilities or limits you found in this kind of residency programmes, as you attended a period at Bethanien too? How do you think the experience in Amsterdam contributed to the development of your practice? Did you find what you expected in the institutional context as well as in the local art scene?

DB: I’ve been in several residencies for artists throughout the years. The longest ones were the Künstlerhaus Bethanien and the Rijksakademie and both have very distinct profiles. The differences come from reasons such as the history of the institution, the social context of the different cities, the structure of the program, etc. For me being in Bethanien was most of all being in Berlin and being in the Rijksakademie was most of all being in the Rijksakademie. The Rijksakademie experience turned out to be a more secluded one where the discussions with the advisors and some of the other artists in the program played a very important role in my approach to my work.

In general residency programs have been turning moments for me, moments of great transformation and the Rijks was a huge one. When I started the program I made the effort of being opened to the possibilities rather then trying to impose my own limits to the experience. The most important for me was to learn as much as I could, to confront myself with the contractions involved in being an artist and to be confronted with aspects of my work that I never considered before. Amsterdam is an interesting city from an historical perspective where I could find places and people that brought something to add to my work. In the end I could collect a couple of testimonies related to the experience of war and colonialism that became very important to my research.

ND: Which are the interests you are taking under consideration for the next works?

DB: Three months after finishing the Rijksakademie and moving from Amsterdam to Denmark I went on a three months trip to Brazil. I was based in São Paulo in the Casa Tomada artist residency. I spent much of my time out in the street, collected piles of notes and talked to random people. I got quite distant from my usual studio practice during those months and got a bit more “relational” whatever that means. From this experience I started to work on short texts and notebooks. The only one I could (almost) finish until now is called “The Man Who Hid Wolfgang Gerhard” and it’s about a German/Brazilian man who was selling forged copies of his grandfather’s documents from when he was an officer of the Werhmacht during the second world war in one of the main street markets of São Paulo. At the same time I was pursuing a research on the military dictatorship in Brazil and the use of torture by local police forces and CIA agents during the “plumb years” which lead me to the role of violence in shaping Brazil since the colonization period. I’m interested on how the invisible layers (forces) of reality at some point can emerge and shape our reality. I decided to call this research “Uma Terra Mais Móvel do que Firme” (A land more mobile than firm) after a quote of Sérgio Buarque de Holanda from the book “Raízes do Brasil” (The Roots of Brazil) from 1936.

source: the artist