Le fotografie di André Cepeda ci conducono per i vicoli delle zone periferiche di Porto, città del Portogallo caratterizzata dalla presenza delle cosiddette “isole”, quartieri popolari all’interno dei quali le condizioni di vita rasentano l’indigenza.
La sequenza intreccia ritratti e paesaggi, entrambi caratterizzati da una certa crudezza: gli interni delle case sono spogli e all’esterno la luce del sole illumina freddamente cortili disseccati e facciate spoglie.
Alcune scene richiamano alla mente i ritratti di Alec Soth e le fotografie scattate in America da Jacob Holdt, andando a creare nel loro insieme un resoconto veritiero e al contempo poeticamente libero dall’oppressione della realtà.
Scrive Miguel von Hafe Pérez nel saggio che precede le immagini:
These developments were built in response to Oporto’s growing industrialisation, but have now been rendered obsolete, left as relics of industrial archaeology. The working class has effectively disappeared and now corresponds to a significant subset of the elderly, unemployed or economically under-privileged.
It should be emphasised however that there is often a strong sense of community in such neighbourhoods and some of these areas now have considerably more pleasant conditions than those existing at the time of their construction, where basic sanitation and plumbing were achieved at best via improvised shared solutions.(…) This journey doesn’t allow us to get to know the city better. We learn nothing about the individuals portrayed herein. But we gain the certainty that art has this unique capacity to show us a world via a series of questions. How do I position myself before this reality? Whose reality is this? That of the author? That of the places and their inhabitants? No. Ultimately the force of this project consists in its atopical and timeless dimension. Because it plays an intelligent game with the History of Art itself – we could trace a formal genealogy and a more or less obvious iconography within some of these works – by universalising specific elements.