SET ESPAI D'ART, Valencia
Belgian-born, Berlin-based Noé Sendas (* 1972) with his 'un-collage' works erases elements in order to attach new meaning and create new narratives. Rooted in cinematic and literary references, the artist treats found photographs as sculpture, playing with notions of gravity, weight and balance.
His notable “Crystal Girl” series deconstructs film stills from Hollywood's golden age, yet as faces, limbs and context are eliminated, the portraits transform into enigmatic, elegant still lives. A second series presented in the booth is "Peeps," based around a group of pinup photographs made by American amateurs during World War II. On top of these images, Sendas superimposes black geometric shapes, which cover their bodies with a sort of Bauhaus-like costume, evoking the ones Oskar Schlemmer designed for his Triadic Ballet in 1922.
A relentless collector of images Sendas has always allowed photographs — taken from film or art history books, for example — to play a crucial role in his work. Explicit and implicit references to artistic, literary, cinematographic, musical or scientific creations form a substantial part of their subjects. Using the objet trouvée as their main tool, postcards, photographs, stills of old movies or everyday merchandise of popular culture are manipulated, reorganized, transformed and merged, eliminating all context and all traits of implicit personal identity, in order to discover new narrative potentials. Using different methods of visual investigation, from photography to art books, from video to installation, the Portuguese artist explores the visual clichés and the archetypes of the collective imagination inside and outside their cultural and social context. Raising themes of collective memory, abstraction and the partial erasure of human identity through the appropriation of material from the public sphere, Sendas combines the surreal fascination with repetition with appropriation with the Dada tendency towards the spontaneous and the deliberately absurd.