Factory of Disposable Feelings
Curated by Ana Balona de Oliveira
Opening: September 23rd at 6pm
From 24th of September to 12th of November 2022
HANGAR – Centro de Investigação Artística
Rua Damasceno Monteiro, 12 r/c
Wednesday – Saturday | 3pm – 7pm
‘Edson Chagas: Factory of Disposable Feelings’ presents one of the most recent photographic series by Edson Chagas (Angola, 1977), made in the Cazenga neighbourhood, in Luanda, Angola, between 2017 and 2018. Having previously been shown solo only in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2019, ‘Factory of Disposable Feelings’ appears now for the first time in Lisbon in a new configuration, including images that have never been exhibited.
This series continues the investigations that singularise Chagas’ work, namely the attention to the experiential and affective relationships that subjects establish with everyday objects and spaces, countering fast rhythms of consumption through a decelerated gaze that closely scrutinises discarded materials, shapes and textures. However, the series simultaneously marks a kind of turning point, insofar as, unlike previous series carried out in various urban public spaces to the North and South, vaguely identified (the streets and beaches of Luanda, Venice, London and Newport, etc.), in this series, for the first time, the photographer focused on the indoors and outdoors of a specific architecture. This is the Irmãos Carneiro Factory in Cazenga, in Luanda, an old textile factory founded in the colonial period, which, belonging to a Portuguese-Angolan family, continued to operate after Angola’s independence and during the various phases of the civil war (1975-2002), producing sheets, diapers and military uniforms, etc. More recently, it has been redirected to the production of agricultural tools, having been partially abandoned.
Through his own bodily and affective experience of this space, and through conversations not only with its owners but mainly with its former workers, some of whom became security guards in the building after the factory closed down, Chagas composed a kind of portrait in open sequence, simultaneously intimate and dialogic, of a multiple place: situated somewhere between the particularities of this architecture and the extended dynamics of the neighbourhood, the city and the country; between collective history and individual memory; between the concrete objectivity of matter and machine (both the factory’s and the photographer’s, i.e. the camera) and the subjectivity of experience and the gaze. The intensity of the lived experiences shared by the former workers imbued with memory the space and its objects, which, although evincing loss, were transmuted into affective archives, poetically exceeding the limits of the visible and documentable. Symbol of the very country on hold and of the various projects of supposed modernity and modernization that have marked its history, the abandoned factory has never ceased to be reoccupied, reappropriated and reactivated by an active labour of memory and desire, including past and present futurities that are yet to be fulfilled.
Chagas was born in 1977 in Luanda, Angola, and lives between Angola and Portugal.
He studied photography at the University of Wales in Newport (2008); London College of Communication (2007); and Portugal’s Escola Técnica de Imagem e Comunicação (2002) and Centro Comunitário de Arcena (1999).
In 2013, Chagas’s Found Not Taken series was exhibited in Luanda, Encyclopedic City, the Angolan Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, winning the Golden Lion for best national pavilion. The series subsequently featured in the inaugural exhibitions at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town (2017).
He was one of three artists shortlisted for the 11th Novo Banco Photo Award, with an exhibition at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2015). He is among the recipients of the 2018 African Art Award presented by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.
Solo exhibitions have taken place at the Kunst Haus Wien, Vienna (2016); Instituto Camões – Centro Cultural Português, Luanda (2014); Belfast Exposed Photography (2014) and Memorial Agostinho Neto, Luanda (2013), in addition to two solo shows at Stevenson (2014 and 2019), one solo show at Apalazzo Gallery (2013) and one solo show at Insofar Art Gallery (2021). Chagas features in the 8th Triennial of Photography Hamburg (2022). He has previously shown in notable group exhibitions including Shifting Dialogues: Photography from The Walther Collection at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (2022); African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and the Other, 18th FotoFest Biennial, Houston (2020); Crossing Night: Regional Identities X Global Context, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2019); IncarNations: African Art as Philosophy, BOZAR Centre for Arts, Belgium (2019); Mask – The Art of Transformation, Kunstmuseum Bonn (2019); 6th Daegu Photo Biennale (2018); From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-face Picasso, Past and Present, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2018); National Gallery of Victoria Triennial (2017); Deconstructed Spaces, Surveyed Memories, 11th Rencontres de Bamako, Mali (2017); Recent Histories – New African Photography, The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany (2017); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Seattle Art Museum and other venues (2015-16); New Photography: Ocean of Images, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists, MMK Frankfurt, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington DC and other venues (2014-15); Journal, Institute of Contemporary
Arts, London (2014); NO FLY ZONE, Unlimited Mileage, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2013); Transit, OCA, São Paulo (2013); RAVY Visual Arts Festival, Yaoundé (2012); Future-makers, LVR-LandesMuseum, Bonn (2012); and the 2nd Luanda Triennial (2010).
Ana Balona de Oliveira is an art historian and curator. She is Auxiliary Researcher (FCT CEEC 2017) at the Institute for Art History, Nova University of Lisbon (IHA-FCSH-NOVA), where she co-coordinates the research line ‘Transnational Perspectives on Contemporary Art’. She holds a PhD in History of Art (Modern and Contemporary) from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (2012), and received doctoral (2008) and post-doctoral (2012) grants from FCT, Portugal. Her research focuses on colonial, anti- and post-colonial narratives, migration and globalization in contemporary art from ‘Lusophone’ countries and beyond, from an intersectional and decolonial feminist perspective. She has lectured and published extensively in Portugal and abroad (Nka, Third Text, African Arts, etc.) and has curated several solo and group exhibitions in London, Guimarães, Lisbon and Luanda, namely by António Ole, Ruy Duarte de Carvalho, Edson Chagas and ngela Ferreira, among others.