Born in 1968 in Lisbon, Portugal / Lives in Lisbon, Portugal
Adriano Pedrosa (AP): Your works are among the most lyrical in the biennial. We are interested in themes of the double, symmetry, and death.
Francisco Tropa (FT): I believe that death is the matrix that emanates from all and any artistic construction. I even think that it perhaps lies at art’s primeval origin, as a mark of this secret threshold or celebration of this passage, to which was later added a sense of religiosity that has forever impregnated the artistic object as a mediator betweentwo worlds. In Gigante (Giant, 2006)—beyond an evident irony, the title also involves an allusion to the use of scale in sculpture—I present two identical skeletons arranged on the floor, molded in bronze, based on the same absent original. Actually, the figure of the double is convoked here as an entity that destroys a certain singular idea always present in the natural element. It involves a double representation that allows for a plurality of reading, where the spectator’s body is moving away even as his or her gaze is drawing closer. We could be in the presence of the unassembled architecture of the body—a set of bones?
AP: The double, symmetry, and death evoke “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers) (1991) and “Untitled” (Alice B. Toklas’ and Gertrude Stein’s Grave, Paris) (1992) by Felix GonzalezTorres.
FT: We can effectively make this correspondence; there are enough similarities in a possible metaphoric reading of the two objects. I also remember another construction that I think contains all of these references in an archaic and tutelary way: a tomb sculpture that depicts a dead couple, buried together. The Saint Denis Cathedral, near Paris, known as Le Tombeau des Rois, features various magnificent examples of these sculptural sets. Among them, the tomb of Catherine de Médici and Henri II is exemplary.
AP: The projection of the feather provides a romantic air, much more than in some of your other works.
FT: We are faced with a projection of a feather, of a magnified image of it, of a breath of air, allusions that evince a certain melancholy. But I feel that this idea is most relevant in terms of the attitude that the viewer can adopt, since ultimately it is perhaps the viewer, as a living being, considering the scene, who perfectly embodies this spirit. The entire image is offered to whoever passes by. And whoever looks at it also observes the observer. I dare to suggest that the projected image positions us.