As part of the promotion of the exhibition Fantasma Gaiata. The CGD Collection curated by Bruno Marchand, we highlight the work AVESSO (2011) by the artistic duo Von Calhau! Part of the celebration of 30 years of Culturgest – Caixa Geral de Depósito Foundation (1993-2023), this exhibition will be on show at Culturgest, Lisbon, from 14 October 2023 to 11 February 2024.

Marta Ângela and João Alves form the artist duo Von Calhau!, developing a collaborative body of work in the areas of music and visual arts since 2006. Their artistic research has predominantly centred on the intersection of various disciplines: films and videos; performances; installation; graphic disciplines such as drawing and book publishing; and even works embroidered on fabric, such as the piece Rombordados (2020), which belongs to the CGD Collection.

The film AVESSO (2011) presents a delirious narrative that transports the viewer to a dreamlike and secluded universe with a logic and language unique to these artists. In a landscape that oscillates between two different worlds – the primitive and the futuristic – two characters, one disguised as a leopard and the other as a leper (suffering from a disease which, according to the artists, sounds like a cock-and-bull story) wander around tied at the waist by an umbilical cord. This tension seems to be controlled by a primitive, blind man who, to the sound of the knife and scissor sharpener's fife, tears up a flag that is identical to the Portuguese flag but with the armillary sphere replaced by the form of a vulva. At that moment, after a great effort of resistance, the cord gives way, a smoking crater opens up, and the two characters are thrown through the air before landing together. The film, teeming with symbolism and relationships, seems to leave its meaning to drift freely among various possible interpretations. In this way, the viewer is forced to think and feel with their own knowledge and experience before formulating a discourse and narrative about what they are watching.

Von Calhau! have presented their work at various national and international institutions, including Galeria ZDB, Serralves Foundation, Instituto Araújo Porto, Culturgest, Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Atelier MTK (Grenoble), , MUSAC (León), Mackintosh Museum (Glasgow), and Kunstraum (London), and they have taken part in various festivals, including Netmage (Bologna), Kraak (Berlin), Les Urbaines (Lausanne), BoCa, (Lisbon), and VideoBrasil (São Paulo).

Hugo Dinis

16mm film transferred to full HD video, 16', ed. 3/6
Inv. 275511
Direction / Editing / Sound: Von Calhau!
Camera / Editing: Frederico Lobo
Acting: Pete Alves / Von Calhau!
Assistance: Filipe Rebelo
This film was made in the context of an artist residencies and site-specific exhibitions project co-produced by the Serralves Foundation and Sonae.
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