After her first exhibition in Lisbon, at Fundação das Comunicações, in 2012; Adriana Barreto returns to this city invited by Galeria Cristina Guerra to present an ephemeral and unique action, the performance O QUE PODE UM CORPO (What Can a Body Do)1.
This performance, in the continuity of the artist’s work, comes after another performative work (a video) O menor espaço para o corpo (The smallest space for the body). Attentive to the problems implied by the limits of corporeality, by the body’s time and space, by movement and movement as drawing, the work inscribes all of them in a unique visual piece, revisiting the context of dance and choreography as a practice and a strategy to think the temporality of the body.
For this performance, Adriana Barrreto transformed the gallery space in a box/container (like a black box) and created a sound piece. On the black floor we will see two moments of the performance interpreted by the artist and six dancer/performers whose bodies resemble black silhouettes drawn in white.
In the first moment, the dancers remove adhesive tape white markings from their black bodies and place them on the ground, drawing cross-shaped marks; a grid that constitutes the choreographic route and an itinerary that marks the temporal breadth of each body’s movements across the floor. Simultaneously, the sound of a rhythmic voice (the artist herself) declaims a word sequence, guiding the audience through the plurality of meanings that the body’s action in space and time can produce as a metaphor: “repeat, beyond, limit, unfold (…) repeat, movements, intensity, affections, action (…).
During the second moment, the dancer’s bodies suffer a subtle change and become fluid and fluttering while they connect the marks on the black floor with lines drawn with white chalk. Here, drawing is the poetical expression of the impulses of our physicality (and choreographic memory), creating a multiplicity of random drawings that relate with the plurality of shapes and forms that the bodies extract from themselves.
What Can a Body Do, a sentence taken from the universe of Baruch Spinoza – an author that guides many of the artist’s reflections –, proposes an inquiry on the limits and ailments that a body (our body?) is subjected to. These limits can belong to the field of emotions or to the physical world, in which case they can be spatialized and measured. How far is this body, and when?