Sea of Tranquility (2021), is the merging of two episodes, whose relationship might seem inhospitable at first glance, but is actually a trait of the artist’s work. A 16 mm black and white film (consisting of a fixed shot of the remains of fourteenth century wall within a Lisbon shopping mall) is projected on a bronze astronaut’s helmet visor – a replica of those worn by the crew of the Apollo 11 mission, and an evocation of Armstrong’s first words as they landed on the visible side of the Moon [1]. Here, the fascination with the Moon, the celestial body that stands the closest to our cosmic desire for conquest, is akin to the nostalgia of the ruin reflected on the mirrors of the modern building to reconcile the two times in an installation that is also a gesture of continuity. Like in Now I Became Aged (2018), The Lost Longing for Existence (2019), Apollo (2019) or Red Flower (2021), the manipulation of time, and the juxtaposing of stories and fictions, is applied to transform meanings and sow these intercommunicating, anachronical connections like seeds. In that sense, although the black helmet corresponds to an industrially manufactured contemporary object, it is replicated without resorting to mechanical or digital means, as it also heralds a precedent in Pavão’s formal options:

The manuality of sculpture [2]. It is curious to think of these ancestral techniquessuch as bronze casting, already employed in Egypt) and materials, such as clay, which is asso- ciated with the manufacturing of the first human utensils and which, in this context, point to another layer to this possible trajectory towards a return to the future.

Carolina Trigueiros, 2021
(Back to the Future Boy . Henrique Pavão, pub. Galeria Bruno Múrias, 2021)

Sea of Tranquility, 2021

Bronze, iron, steel, wood, 16mm film projector, looper, 16mm film (b/w, silent, 2’25”, loop)
Variable dimensions

Installation view, ‘Sea of Tranquility’, FRAME section at Frieze NY at the Shed, New York

Photo — Bruno Lopes

Video Documentation:

© 2024 Henrique Pavão