Art College, University of Coimbra
Curated by João Silvério
The project Susana Mendes Silva brought to EMPTY CUBE on December 7th 2012 was especially conceived for this event, which consisted of a single, unrepeatable presentation. This project took place at the premises of the College of the Arts of Coimbra University, Portugal. Coimbra possesses one of the oldest universities in Europe, a place known for its academic reputation, as well as for its constant presence in the struggle for democracy throughout the 20th century, most importantly during the Estado Novo dictatorship.
Susana Mendes Silva's work incorporates elements of research and archival practice that lead to the creation of pieces whose historical and political references become visible as exhibitions, actions and performances that employ a wide variety of media. Her universe considers and reframes different social contexts without ever losing track of the individual's uniqueness. Her psychological intimacy and her voice are often the means for the diffusion and reception of poetic and political messages that call upon the viewers' memories, reactivating them.
The piece's title, '69-12', includes a sub-title: 'continua o diálogo do silêncio' [the dialogue of silence continues], which alludes to the 1969 Coimbra academic crisis (in which the students' revolt gave voice to a country oppressed by painful dictatorial restraints). At the same time, '69-12' took us to the present year, which is felt to be a time of uncertain freedom. This artist's project used the spoken word to recover the memory of that recent past, in close connection with the confused memory of our present.