IRINEU DESTOURELLES  
   
   
SELECTED WORKS: moving-image; drawing, painting  
   
   
 

Sketches for Geometric Abstract Paintings and Corrupted Sound from a Visual Arts Lesson 2020
Digital HD file, 16:9, 4 minutes and 52 seconds, b&w, sound
Displays a succession of black & white geometric abstract drawings at different stages of composition with currupted sound from a recording of a visual arts and design lesson.
This piece was made in response to a commission from a private collector of contemporary African arts. When looking online at for works included in the collection I noticed the absence of abstract works. The process of making this piece took me back to my visit to the Africa Remix exhibition at the Hayward gallery in 2005 and also to my experience as lecturer of visual arts in Cape Verde - two experiences amongst several others that form my understanding of how contemporary African arts is represented.
https://vimeo.com/513798112

 
   
   
 

Supernatural Forces, Mental Health and Detail from Indoors (Forças Sobrenaturais, Doença Mental e Detalhe de Interior) 2019
HD File, 16:9, 11 minutes and 18 seconds, color, silent
A text written in English and Portuguese versions runs over low opacity footage of a bouquet of plastic flowers.
The fake flowers, that once adorned the dinner table in my parents living room, evoke my domestic environment whist growing-up where Cape-verdean and Portuguese culture collapsed into one. The text produces an hybrid context that juxtaposes references to social attitudes to mental health and the state of democracy in Cape Verde with Portuguese historical events. I wrote the text simultaneously in Portuguese and English languages. The English version is more distant and the Portuguese one more personal, reflecting my emotional relationship with both languages, and my understanding of the power play between both languages.
https://vimeo.com/349513915

 
   
   
 

Ex-colonial Landscape with Different Filters 2019
MiniDV transferred to digital HD file, 4:3, 4minutes and 30 seconds, colour, silent
Manipulated footage of a landscape from my native island of Santo Antao in Cape Verde runs in parallel with phrases composed of quotes from Portuguese pop music and Angolan civil-war leaders.
The text interweaves extracts from lyrics from 1980s and 1990s Portuguese well known pop songs with extracts from speeches made by the presidents of MPLA and UNITA the two opposing factions during the Angolan civil war (1975 to 2002 with interludes). Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome e Principe were Portuguese colonies until 1975. Pop culture and post-colonial war coexist in this piece pointing towards two very different interconnected postcolonial realities. As Portugal moved aways from its problematic colonial past towards a democratic western European identity its former colonies in Africa struggled through political unrest and/or civil war. Growing up, images of these two realities coexisted in Portuguese media. My childhood impressions of Portuguese speaking Africa were formed by these images of war, my parents recollections of Cape Verde, and Portuguese former colonialists's memories of Africa.
https://vimeo.com/349520635

 
   
   
 

Several Ways of Falling Ordered Differently 2019
Digital HD File, 16:9, 4 minutes and 8 seconds, b&w, silent
Displays in simultaneous 35 sequences where I fall to the ground, whereby every sequence is composed of the same shots but which are ordered differently.
The shots that constitute the sequences were recorded in my father's vegetable patch, at my parents home in the outskirts of Lisbon. My father uses the space to grow the tropical vegetables that he planted and/or consumed his youth in Cape Verde before emigrating to Europe.
https://vimeo.com/335429741

 
   
   
 

One Hundred and Two Houses on Fire 2019
Digital HD file, 16:9, 9 minutes and 43 seconds, b&w, silent
Displays a series of drawings of houses consumed by fire from the inside.
Growing up I was told that Cape-verdean men from my island, before their wedding day, have to build a house in which future wife and husband will live. The process of building a house attests to the man's physical strength and sense of responsibility. For me, the concept - home - is an unsettled and fragile construct.
https://vimeo.com/335738356

 
   
   
 

Unevenly Spaced and Censored Anonymous Undergraduate Essay 2018 (re-edited)
Digital HD file, 16:9, 13 minutes and 14 seconds, colour, sound
An anonymous essay on the topic of critical reception of conceptual work by black visual artist runs unevenly spaced over an image of a domestic environment with an abstract painting at its centre.
I commissioned the essay to an online company that specializes on writing student essays. I specified the essay's title, that it should be written at undergraduate level, and supplied reference texts, including Charles Gaines' The Theatre of Refusal: Black Art and Mainstream Criticism (1993) and Henry E. Garrett's "The Equalitarian Dogma" (1961). After concluding a BA in Painting in Rotterdam returned to Lisbon with the paintings that I did as a student. The background footage derives from a photograph taken in the house of a Lisbon based collector and the painting at the centre of the image is one of my few surviving student paintings which were influenced by 1980s german expressionism and American post-minimalism.
https://vimeo.com/248795511

 
   
   
 

Glossary of Political Words (Almost One-hundred Definitions) 2017
Digital HD file, 16:9, 35 minutes and 39 seconds, colour, silent
Alternative meanings, often sardonic and suggestive of social-darwinism and works by Nietzsche, are attributed to words found in a glossary of political words.
I think there are parallels in the ways in which Portuguese colonialism, with its 'verbal luxury', constructed colonial representations that had little resemblance to reality and how mainstream political discourse attempts to invest anti-ethical practices with democratic concepts.
https://vimeo.com/221405982

 
   
   
 

Unrelativising - Someone is Adamant that their Sister is not their Sister and Over-and-Underexposed Handheld Images of Familiar Places 2016/17
Digital HD file, 16:9, 4 minutes and 2 seconds, colour, sound
Interweaves video footage of Edinburgh, Glasgow and the outskirts of Lisbon with manipulated sound appropriated from a popular UK daytime reality TV show.
The majority of the shots in this piece were filmed with varying camera settings often rendering the footage either over or under exposed. There is a crude relationship between the natures of the footage and the reality TV show from which the sound was appropriated - the purposeful misrepresent of perception.
https://vimeo.com/194021356

 
   
   
 

White Balance Error and Nia (Subject with Straight Long Hair) 2017
Digital HD file, 16:9, 7 minutes and 48 seconds, colour, sound
Performed by Emma.
A white woman's face is followed with extreme camera close-ups that she systematically rejects.
Introducing error from the onset by not adjusting the camera's white balance function and in a context where the camera's view is the embodiment of an intrusive gaze, I filmed the character's face whilst she performed an established trope of feminine beauty - she combs her long hair and puts on make-up to then remove it. This piece makes reference Frantz Fanon's writings regarding the male colonized subject's desire for the white woman as a way to access the colonizer's world and is part of an ongoing reflection on the ways in which colonialist narratives may unwittingly play a role in intimate interracial relationships.
https://vimeo.com/212415413

 
   
   
 
Person with Monster Inside from the Savage Series 2016
Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 23 cm, 12 x 9 in
 
   
   
 

Blurred Images of Two People Constrained by Time Fluctuating Between Acceptance and Rejection 2016
Digital HD file, 16:9, 4 minutes and 2 seconds, colour, sound
Performed by Maru and Roberto.
A couple siting in a public space go through a cyclical range of contradictory actions, moving back and forwards between affection and aggression.
I asked two friends to perform a wide range of emotions towards towards each-other. The original footage has been blown-up to draw attention away from their faces towards their hands and bodies. Whilst working on this piece I was indirectly thinking about the role of the stereotype in popular culture towards producing representations of individuals characterized by lack of emotional dept and range.
https://vimeo.com/186177241

 
   
   
 

Emotional Exhibition Review 2016
Digital file from MiniDv tape, 4:3, 13 minutes and 13 seconds, colour, sound
Footage of an African urbanscape with voice-over that reads an unpublished review of a contemporary African arts exhibition.
The footage was filmed in Accra from the window of the hotel room where I wrote a draft of a review of the Dak'Art 2010 African Contemporary Art Biennial the day after I saw the exhibition. The voice that reads the text is an open-source text-to-voice software application that makes errors every-time it reads African language based words. I made this piece some six year after I wrote the text. I was spearheaded by encountering a photograph I had taken of a handwritten message left in the pages of a novel I found hidden in an hotel room in Dakar. The message is a harsh, if not racist, assessment of someone's experience of Dakar. Encountering the photograph prompted me to confront my initial emotional experience of the biennial and of Dakar.
https://vimeo.com/170237475

 
   
   
 
Portrait Three of a Man with a Bad Head 2016
Pencil on paper, 20.5 x 20.5 cm, 8 x 8 in
 
   
   
 

Parsing (First and Second Half of an Essay, with Blank Spaces and Mistakes, Running in Simultaneous) 2016
Digital HD file, 16:9, 13 minutes and 22 seconds, b&w, silent
Runs an essay split into two parts which run concurrently and with words that denote status, time and place removed.
The original essay is an informative essay on James VI of Scotland/James I of England and (his son) King Charles I's attitudes to power. I wrote the essay in 2007. At the time I worked at the National Maritime Museum in London where the legacy of King Charles I looms large because the museum includes the Queens House's built for his French wife Queen Henrietta Maria. After I moved to Scotland from London, during the summer of 2014 in the midst the Scottish independence referendum campaigns, I went back to the essay to question the ways in which social hierarchies and place are intrinsic to telling a narrative and to forming knowledge.
https://vimeo.com/125368000

 
   
   
 

Untitled Two from the Savage Series 2014
Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 23 cm, 12 x 9 in

 
   
   
 

Twenty-five Profiles (Extracts from Interracial Adult Marketing Material with Explicit Words Taken Out) 2015
Digital HD file from found text: 16:9, 11 minutes and 55 seconds, b&w, silent
Text based video work composed of phrases extracted from profile descriptions of female porn-actors listed on a website specialising on white-female/black-male interracial pornographic content.
The phrases, which play on racial stereotypes, have words with explicit content and other offensive meanings removed. This piece is a response to an invitation to contribute to an exhibition on the topic of sex. Whilst researching online I became increasingly aware that the sub-genre of interracial porn often draws on colonialist stereotypes and tropes to produce and promote content.
https://vimeo.com/125348605

 
   
   
 

New Words for Mindelo's Urban Creole 2014
Digital HD file, 16:9, 10 minutes and 26 seconds, b&w, sound
Displaying neologisms, aimed at enriching the vocabulary of the substratum creole language of Cape Verde which is spoken in informal contexts.
This piece is refers to my experience of living and working in Mindelo, in my native Cape Verde. The neologisms, made from names of Portuguese colonial administrators and names of Greek mythology characters, propose parallels between colonial history and the social dynamics that have emerged in the country since 1990 with end of a single-party Marxist regime that gave way to parliamentary democracy and free market economy. This work, made three years after I left the country, beyond being a critical reflection on particular social mindsets and practices it also reflects my outsider, distant and privileged on-look as 'returned' diaspora in that society.
https://vimeo.com/125346710

 
   
   
 

Self-portrait with No Vision and a Half-smile from the Autoestrangeirismo Series 2014
oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm, 15.7 x 15.7 in

 
   
   
 

Metathesiophobia 2011
Digital HD file, 16:9, 100 minutes and 54 seconds, b&w, sound
Performers: Elisabete Goncalves, Zenaida Alfama Medina and Irineu Destourelles
Camera: LuÌs Carlos Fontes de Alencar Filho and Mamadou Diop; Direct sound: by David Medina; With thanks to Joel Zito Araujo.
A cropped long single-shot footage of three characters sitting at a table, who pack the white powdery content of plastic containers, runs with and off-screen voice that reads Rene Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy (1641).
For the sound, an extract from an audiobook of Meditations on First Philosophy was cut into sentences which were then aleatory re-edited. The reading maintains its authoritative tone but at close scrutiny it lacks discernible meaning. From 2009-2011 I lived in the harbour city of Mindelo, in my native Cape Verde. In that context, I witnessed two interconnected issues: the lure that drug-trafficking had upon many poor young men and women towards fulfilling narratives of success; the lure that western values had upon wealthier residents which lead to sections of this group emulating Western life-styles, reconfiguring them into new local practices.
https://vimeo.com/51804614

 

 

 
   
 

Artificial Environment with Natural Sounds 2005
Digital file, 4:3, 2 minutes 25 seconds, colour, sound
Displays a single image, a digital drawing, with city sounds.

 
   
   
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