From October 18 to January 17, 2015, Alma-Bluco, a solo exhibition by Musa paradisiaca curated by Elfi Turpin.
"Your father was a sphinx and your mother a night."*
This is what springs to mind every time I get ready to talk about Alma-Bluco, a Musa paradisiaca solo exhibition: a masking sentence, an enigmatic injunction, almost a spell, which so totally informs the genesis and the contours of this exhibition that it leaves room for not a single other word.
And yet things remain to be said:
Musa paradisiaca is a project by Eduardo Guerra and Miguel Ferrão which tends towards the construction of a multivoiced family of thought.
The Alma-Bluco exhibition is a family reunion: a coming-together of entities and tutelary figures which Musa paradisiaca has encountered and incorporated into its practice, into the shaping of a magical mode of thinking made of myths, stories and acts born of vernacular belief systems.
One day Musa paradisiaca made the acquaintance of Francisco, custodian of a steam-driven machine he has to fire up regularly to keep it in working state.
Last year at CRAC Alsace Musa paradisiaca presented Ecstasy & Eden, a 16 mm film that observes and ventriloquises the awakening and the vital energy of this machine, accompanying it with a group of pitch sculptures. In this work Eduardo and Miguel pin down the intense connection between the man and the machine—a kind of giant, slumbering beast that dreams together with Francisco as he rests beside it and keeps it warm.
For some months now Musa paradisiaca has been working in a bakery. At night Eduardo and Miguel make bread sculptures that they serve during the day in a museum Canteen. The bakery turns out to be the beating heart of a human activity that takes place when all the others stop: a place where a mysterious nocturnal force is capable of creating food.
One evening the baker explained to them why large animals sleep standing up:
"When an animal lies down, its internal organs change place, causing suffocation. So an animal that falls over can never get up again."
And then one of them remembered this dream:
"One stormy night rife with the barking of dogs, the life-size wooden mould of a horse was lying on the ground."
The exhibition Alma-Bluco—"Raw Soul"—takes place at the junction of these observations and experiences, on the cusp between night and day. And CRAC Alsace, which has taken it under its roof, becomes the locus of apparition and transformation of the hybrid bodies of the Singer, Colina, Francisco, Nuna and Poppe, all of them—"Freebooter foreigner underdog bungler thief"**—sphinxes trapped between two worlds.
—Elfi Turpin, October 2015.
* Guillaume Apollinaire, "Le Larron", Alcools—poèmes 1898—1913 (Paris: Éditions de la Nouvelle Revue Française, 1920).
The exhibition is supported by Camões, I.P.—Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, Portugal, and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.