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Artist portraits (1): Sancho Silva
Frankfurter Rundschau | 27.05.2002
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++++ Around 80 artists are taking part in Manifesta 4 in Frankfurt. We will present them with their works to you in the coming weeks. The photos have been made available to us by the periodical Art Kaleidoskop.
The wish to have an overview and insight into every situation all the time as much as possible is nothing more than a description of the efforts to get things under our control. Perhaps that is also one of the essential motives for art. Perhaps artists also try to do this, to gain an overview over the world and their lives. Whether it be at Manifesta 4 or somewhere else. And for visitors to the exhibition, of course, this also holds true in a different way. That such enterprises are ultimately doomed to failure and probably have to be so does not change anything about the tireless efforts to gain some sort of control.
The Portuguese artist, Sancho Silva, apparently offers viewers assistance in gaining an overview of the situation with his contribution to Manifesta 4. At Frankensteiner Hof in Rittergasse he is presenting a timber construction resembling a bunker in one of the exhibition rooms. At first the impression of hermetic closedness predominates. Only when you come closer do you see small slits at eye level, but you cannot see anything through them because it is dark.
If you go around Frankensteiner Hof you will come across a side entrance which leads to the first floor and into the inside of the bunker. And there it is, the longed-for insightful view. Standing in the dark and pressed against the slits in the wood, we can view what is going on on the other side of the wall. For a time it is very amusing, this feeling of secretly looking at the others as they wander from one art work to the next, to perceive their perplexity in view of the wooden wall (how satisfying, we have already sold the puzzle) and to hear some scraps of conversation. But sooner or later you want something more, you want to follow the complete course of the nice young man through the exhibition room, to copy his look at the ceiling, but you can't. No matter what you do, the slit is too narrow. And suddenly it becomes obvious that what we can see is only a tiny detail of a complex whole, a whole in which we are not participating because we are standing on the outside.
But there is some small solace: any frustration which emerges in view of the impossibility of gaining an ultimate overview can be diverted in a satisfying way by confusing visitors on the other side of the wall a little bit without being recognized yourself.

Frankensteiner Hof, Rittergasse. jdv

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