Double Exposure – Fernando Guerra, the man and the work
by Fabrícia Valente
Traveling through the 20 years of the architect-photographer Fernando Guerra’s career is to know and revisit images, perceive new approaches in the act of photographing architecture, get involved in narratives that bodies create in the spaces studied, discover peculiarities that his sharp gaze brings us. It is also understanding a path full of moments of solitude, of objects that tell stories of those who manage to talk to us at the airports where they stop, it is to know the man who creates this work and transports us through it. It is in this double unveiling that curator Andreia Garcia wants to show us, in this exhibition, a path full of assertiveness, but also full of subtleties. In a reading as if we were unveiling a remarkable archive through several layers of information, the story of Fernando Guerra and his photographs is presented to us in four moments, through flight cases designed by Diogo Aguiar Studio. What better object could store and reveal such a story than the one that ensures its portability? And so we started a journey. In the first Antechamber moment of the following story, we discover Fernando Guerra, the architect, heading to Macau and Fernando, who begins to create an impressive digital archive of images of Portuguese architecture and opens doors to an international journey. His first machines, still analogue; references to his childhood with his brother Sérgio, companion on land on this great journey; his passion for cars; the first names to believe his eyes. The idea of the viral image did not yet exist in the world beyond the covers of reference magazines, but its record already stood out in works such as Aires Mateus or Ricardo Bak Gordon. Efables happen in the second moment already in full international projection, the way he captures the world, but also how the world marks him, changing; travel objects; awakening from dreams; the fascination with the tropical. At a time when architecture in Portugal was going through a moment of crisis, the way in which it had been disseminated across borders based on his images, brought him many invitations from various corners of the world; featured images in many publications; an ambition that could be translated into symbols yet to be unveiled, like the astronaut gloves shown here. In the third suitcase, Common Place arrives, unveiling a little of what consolidates his dialogues with Álvaro Siza, a path of constant discovery of the master’s work, the loyalty of the lens that tells a story of friendship and complicity also on the road. It’s the box that Fernando Guerra says there’s no need to talk about, it contains all the words that need to be said. Time after is the last moment of the exhibition and tells us stories of gestures, of actions that mark a certain time in a certain space, the fleetingness of the moment in the eternalization of the image. People gaining more and more prominence, no longer giving just the scale, but the soul of the image. A look of intimacy and boldness in her shyness. What are you looking for in the world beyond your own origin? Fernando Guerra, who doesn’t like to appear, now comes to us in a way that he had not seen in any other of his exhibitions until then. The inability to not know how to switch off brings you the certainty of a way of life. 20 years of photographing architecture cannot just be translated into the photographs themselves. Here, the work trip is confused with the innocence of the boy who wants to gain the world, the passion for a new light in an unknown angle and the passion for the look of who is being photographed; the man who holds the camera and uses it for its functionality and the man who is fascinated by design. The possibility that its Ultimas Reportagens platform opens up for getting to know contemporary architecture leads us to exhaustive narratives about hundreds and hundreds of works, in an archive that deserves to be studied and that has become a dissemination space par excellence. Double exposure opens up the possibility of understanding what moves those who create such an archive, the hours, times and non-places of those who live in transit, but choose the right time, with the right light, between a contained pleasure and an obsessive professionalism noticing exactly the story it has to tell. In this exhibition, the value of the images counts, but also the value of the relationships that are at the base of each image. Images don’t always reveal how special a session was, traveler’s life isn’t always glamorous, it’s not always worth getting to know the man behind the lens, here he deserves it and the story is well told to us, in a tasty balance between what what must be revealed and the sharpening of curiosity for what is not to be revealed.
The exhibition can be visited at Roca Lisboa Gallery, until the 18th of January