press release #1
The latest project in Aragão's photographic work is a series of landscapes photographed at night. Images in this group share an uncanny feeling, the kind of optical bewilderment one experiences when confronted with an image that is both familiar and still an inescapable source of anxiety. All the landscapes in the series are empty of human presence, and lit to purposefully emphasize the contrast between the shadowy dark underside of nature and the illuminated set of a staged scene. These abandoned scenarios, from which the main actors have just left, are those of the primal scene: libidinal encounters erased from memory as well as from any recorded evidence.
Purposefully for all these shots Aragão selects images that are miniature trees and rocks, that he scouts for amidst the coastal seascapes, only a few miles away from the cruising promenades where men look for casual partners and couples in love search romantic refuge. Once he finds the right location he approaches it as a crime scene photographer, returning to the empty site equipped with no props except for the aid of flash lighting he adds to the fading sunlight. This combination of deserted settings, arboreal luxurious hide-aways and artificial lighting all combine to crease a unique atmosphere of sexual nature that set this project apart as a photographic investigation into the optical codes of repressed memory.
(artist, curator and lecturer at the London South Bank University and the University of Westminster)