March 10, 2014
Portraits of famed actors as a motley crew
Forty famous actors through the lens and the perspective of two reputed photographers: Intervalo lúcido (Lucid Interval), by Guido Chouela and David Sisso, offers a luring personal glimpse into the unique universe of performers. The exhibition features large format prints of the actors photographed against plain backgrounds. The two photographers decided to boost this visual feast by adding an audio installation of the actors’ voices reading different art-related texts as a climactic counterpoint to the images on the walls.
Curated by Elio Kapsuk, Intervalo lúcido includes portraits of the industry’s mightiest names: Alfredo Alcón, Cecilia Roth, Gael García Bernal, Guillermo Francella, Julio Chávez, Adrián Suar, Carla Peterson, Vicentico, Mercedes Morán, Oscar Martínez, Julieta Díaz, Paola Krum, Roberto Carnaghi, Puma Goity, Joaquín Furriel, Rodrigo de la Serna, Florencia Peña, Marcela Kloosterboer, Juan Pablo Geretto, Juan Minujin, Carola Reyna, Benjamín Vicuña, Vicky Almeida, Jorge Marrale, Marilú Marini, Malena Solda, Lito Cruz, Norman Briski, Edda Díaz, Peto Menahem, Chela Cardalda, María Onetto, Juan Leyrado, and Juan Gil Navarro.
In a meeting on the eve of the vernissage, photographers Chouela and Sisso spoke to the Herald about the concept behind Intervalo lúcido, their work with the actors and the transformation it entailed. Both of them are established photographers who have worked as photo editors for publications such as Living and Rolling Stone and their projects have often focused on renowned actors who would pose as themselves or their characters. After years on the job and thousands of photos featuring the industry’s highest and mightiest, Chouela and Sisso started to think about putting together strings of moments when their subjects would abandon the specific role of the photoshoot and slide into a more personal space. The exhibition’s name, Intervalo lúcido, references a medical term describing a patient’s brief return to mental clarity before slipping into unconsciousness again.
“This exhibition was born from a long series of commercial projects, from magazine covers to pictorials and television shows. At some point, we realized that some of these photos displayed a particular type of body language, which set them apart from the primary photos or, if you prefer, from the main purpose of the photoshoot: it’s as if the actor slips into this moment of introspection. Or maybe there’s some sort of disruption in their attention span,” Chouela says.
The actors were very open to the idea of an auteur photography exhibition. “We were surprised by some of the actors’ reactions before the camera. As incredible as it may seem, many of them struggle to appear comfortable before the camera, it’s as if that moment makes them feel insecure,” Sisso says. “Cinema, television, and theatre use similar languages where the actor can perform comfortably, but a fix photo throws them into disarray. I can’t tell whether it’s due to a lack of script or the impossibility to carry out an action,” Sisso muses.
As consistent as the concept of collating pictures of similar aesthetic bent, the two photographers managed to take things a step further by adding sound to the exhibition. They confess that, at first, the general idea was to create a voice background for the series of portraits but the concept evolved unexpectedly.
“When we went to record the actors voices, we had thought about having them read the same text but their willingness to pitch in and leave their mark changed everything. We were interested in sound as form, as enunciation if you will, not content,” Sisso says. “But later we found ourselves in Marrale’s dressing room, just before he went onstage… And he chose this beautiful text on improvisation which triggered a fascinating conversation. At that point, our focus on sound form turned into a fervent wish to include different texts and bring the voices to the foreground,” he adds.
“We wanted to make an audio portrait, to include voices in a sort of choir-like mise-en-scene. If you look attentively, you’ll see the exhibition has a choral dimension, with the actors’ pictures aligned on the wall at such short distance,” Chouela says of the audio installation where actors’ voices alternate with silences.
As for the actual texts, many come across as ruminations on the life of an artistic act. “The exhibition, in some way, questions everything: what it means to portray an actor or an actor’s character, how much of that image is the actor and how much is the characters, what is the strength of photography as a seemingly objective document of someone’s reality,” Sisso ponders.
When and where
Portrait exhibition Intervalo lúcido (Lucid Interval) opens today at the Centro Cultural Recoleta (Junin 1930), where it can be seen until February 10.