Taipa Village Cultural Association exclusively showcases a unique photography exhibition entitled “Involuntary Landscapes”, presented by Luso-American photographic artist Hugo Teixeira who hosts his second show at Taipa Village Art Space.
The exhibition interprets Teixeira’s attempts to piece together a historical and cultural consciousness lost when his family emigrated from Portugal and settled in California in the 70’s. The artistic collection reflects the result of a number of crafted landscape photos from his travels in the California chaparral and the Portuguese montado. In doing so, the present and past serve as lenses through which the other is interpreted.
Involuntary Landscapes interprets artist Hugo Teixeira’s attempts to piece together a historical and cultural consciousness lost when his family emigrated from Portugal and settled in California in the 70’s. Like the artist, the children of migrants are often expected to function in two cultures without their parents’ memories and birth connection to their home countries and without much guidance in adapting to a new country and culture. Instead, they often piece together knowledge about both cultures from stories, media, travel and by basic trial and error.
Reflecting this phenomenon, the found photos of an anonymous family in pre-revolutionary Portugal recall the characters and settings of his own family’s stories and evoke recollections of the past without conscious effort (Marcel Proust’s involuntary memories). He juxtaposes these with deliberately crafted landscape photos from his travels in the California chaparral and the Portuguese montado. In so doing, the present and past serve as lenses through which the other is interpreted.
Teixeira fuses the photographs using a montage process reminiscent of 19th century landscape photographers who combined unrelated photos of land and sky to create harmonious compositions not achievable in a single exposure. The images presented in this exhibition distill thousands of compositions to just a few evocative examples. The technique reflects the trials and errors of learning to navigate two cultures without much guidance, but ultimately learning to feel at home in a blend of both.
“The present and past are lenses through which the other is interpreted.” Hugo Teixeira
Hugo Teixeira grew up in the Luso-American community in San Jose, California. A linguist by training, he studied photography at San Jose State University and Lisbon’s Escola Técnica de Imagem e Comunicação, graduating from the MFA in the Photography and Related Media programme at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2020. His artwork relies on photography, common materials, advanced technical skillsets and memory to create contemporary conceptual images and sculptures. As an artist and teacher, Teixeira has exhibited work in the United States, Portugal, and the Macau Special Administrative Region of China.