“Archives are considered to be sites of the past, places that contain vestiges of the collective memory of a nation, a people or a group. But they are not just a record, a reflection or an image of an event; they shape the event itself and influence past, present and future. In much of his work, Henrique Pavão uses ruins as the material object for an analysis, as an archive of human memories suspended in time. The photograph Hotel Palenque (Fóssil) (2019), now being shown at UMA LULIK__, results from his admiration and research on the work of Robert Smithson (1938-1973), one of his favourite artists. Following the footsteps of this author, Pavão visited Mexico and the ruins of Teotihuacan to produce a series of photographs that show various interior and exterior views of the hotel, following Smithson’s seminal work, i.e. Hotel Palenque (1969-1972). Unlike Nidhal Chameck, Pavão does not appropriate or intervene on another work, but rather incorporates it, demonstrating the complexity and the proper interpretation of a “document” in ruins — according to his own intentions — and high- lighting the almost undefined status of the abandoned architectural work. Upon his nomination for the EDP – New Artists Award in 2019, Pavão presented the installation The Lost Longing For Existence at the MAAT. During the exhibition of this complex installation in the dark room attributed to the artist, the slides were exposed to 816 hours of light, the exact time they were on display. Meticulous but receptive to chance, Pavão was unaware that the original black and white slides would be trans- formed by this exposure and create what is now Hotel Palenque (Fóssil), a register of the passage of the time of the original installation, a yellowish monochrome piece in which the almost complete deletion of the image of a certain point of view of the hotel intensifies the passage of a time, prior to the present, and reveals the object in History. As the very title of the work may suggest, a trace in the memory of some (crystallized).”

Miguel Leal Rios, 2019

Hotel Palenque (Fossil), 2019

Inkjet print on japanese paper 70 gr 
70 x 108,3 cm 

Installation view, ‘Tomar a verdade, #1 para 4’, UMA LULIK_ , Lisbon

Photo — Bruno Lopes

© 2024 Henrique Pavão