Sal da terra
2013, series of 34 photographs, Inkjet print on cotton paper, 45×70 cm.
Edition of 5+1 artist proof
Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações Contemporary Art Collection
Figueiredo Ribeiro Collection – Quartel da Arte Contemporânea de Abrantes
The photographs that make up the Sal da Terra [Salt of the Earth] series are a group of images that are part of the landscape photography genre. While that is evident at a first glance, once we attempt to identify the reality that is at the base of the artistic work, mystery sets in.
The artist’s approach includes a dichotomous interplay between realism and abstraction, marked by a rich diversity of images, by refinement in definition and scale. The way reality is presented does not allow us to recognise the geography, continent or country where the photos were taken, whether they depict a single place or several; another interesting challenge is connected to scale: are these aerial views or small details? The only certainty the artist gives us is that these are images from nature, in which the technical gaze explores forms, colours and textures without resorting to any kind of digital manipulation or construction.
Regarding the natural world, we perceive that the meeting of sea and earth is present in these photographs and, taking into consideration the evocation of salt in the title, we deduce that the variety of unusual, unique geomorphological images, combined with a rich multiplicity of organic elements, is the result of manifold chemical reactions and physical alterations caused by the action of salt on various types of soil. These could be landscapes “…in the beginning” of time.
“Salt of the Earth” is connected with the spiritual realm. Conceptually, this series of photographs alludes to the words spoken by Jesus to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). In this context, salt is a simile for an illuminated, wise and righteous being who gives flavour to the words of the sacred texts. There is a metaphoric meaning, connected with the notions of light, wisdom, purification and inspiration.