Rui Calçada Bastos
For the first time we are presenting the work of the Portuguese artist Rui Calçada Bastos (*1971 Lisbon). We are showing his photo series „New City,“ which takes a very special but also exemplary look at the architecture in Macao. The former Portuguese colony of Macao, which was incorporated into the People's Republic of China as a second Special Administrative Region, is considered the Las Vegas of the East and currently there are huge casinos and hotels build up.
These works depict mostly deserted sections of an unfinished urban space. Lonely billboards hang on construction fences that show a beautiful high-gloss world populated by happy people. But reality is altogether different. The few people who are seen act more like foreign bodies and radiate insecurity and loneliness. A man looks around at an empty street. What was he looking at? Was he afraid he was being followed? Will he make his own place in this strangely constructed and inanimate urban environment or is the emptiness scary to him?
This uncertainty can also be felt in other pictures. Utopia and reality collide in the pictures of Calçada Bastos. This atmosphere of the alienated and uprooted is contrasted with the precise and delicate handling of proportions and colors in his photographs and videos, which are very harmonic and clearly balanced.
Also the video „Events – Life in a Bush of Ghosts“ shows scenes of urban living space, devoted however to the little casual movements in public spaces that are not directly caused by human hands. Things are moved by the wind, light reflections have a playful life of their own and automatically controlled elements of the urban space seem to lead a spooky life of their own.
Calçada Bastos discovered the hidden poetry in the urban space, which we no longer perceive in our hectic daily routine. He poeticized things, but at the same time there is a certain critique of civilization.
An undercurrent of melancholy runs through his entire body of work - perhaps also a hint of the typical Portuguese "saudade" - the "gentle melancholy," which is deeply rooted in the Portuguese culture.