SARA CHANG YAN - Um plano tangível e infinito, GALERIA MADRAGOA

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The two adjectives used in the title of the exhibition to describe “the plane” – “tangible and infinite” – seem to express a certain contrast, a slight contradiction. If tangible is something that can be touched, physically perceived but also conceptually understood, infinite is rather elusive, always transcends rigid definitions, and cannot be reached nor grasped in its extent. These two dimensions coexist in Sara Chang Yan’s drawings, in which the plane is not just the background on which lines, shapes, colours and signs settle, but it acts as a magnetic field that responds and actively participates in the composition. There are no hierarchies in the drawings: states of mind, gestures, movements, signs and support are equivalent and interact at the same level. In the negotiation between these elements, the surface of the paper sheet does not only represent a delimited portion of space where the drawing appears, where the composition becomes tangible, but preserves the poetic quality of the blank page, the symbolic space of waiting, of still unexpressed possibilities, of infinite potentials.
In the new series of drawings Alinhamentos this approach, that is common to all Sara Chang Yan’s practice, is emphasized. The starting point of each work on paper is the shape of the sheet, that is not rectangular but irregular in order to free the drawings from their obedience to a single point of observation: the frame, that follows their capricious contours, allows viewers to actually interact with them, to grab the drawings in their hands, to rotate and see them from different orientations, and on both sides. The observer can also move these object-drawings in the gallery space, they can simply be hanging on the wall or leaning on the floor against the wall, investigating the relationship between the works and the exhibition space, how they react in response to different environmental conditions.
The relationship between image and movement, in this case intended as a sequence of planes, is further explored in Quando o céu, o mar e os corpos se tornam transparentes. The video of two people floating in the sea is projected on a drawing that acts as screen as well as a filter, and interplays with the footage. The dots, the holes and the cuts on the paper provide the projection with an unusual physicality; this superimposition creates a layered, dense image, that recalls the materiality of an old film on which the presence of scratches and stains immediately reveals its fictitious nature.
In the gallery at the ground floor, viewers are enveloped by sounds coming from different sources, by the warmth and the smell of the barren earth that covers the entire floor of the space, altering their movements and softening their footsteps. The immersive installation Andar subtil sinal has been conceived as a drawing that is expanded to the whole space, and whose composition is based on a non-visual, but auditory vocabulary. Signs have been replaced by sounds, short recordings of plucked guitar strings or fingers snapping, musical notes but also daily noises that, untied from the gestures or from the original context in which they have been produced, become strangely unfamiliar: they form a mysterious choreography, a constellation that punctuates the space and make it vibrate.

Sara Chang Yan - Um plano tangível e infinito
Galeria Madragoa, March 24 - May 5
www.galeriamadragoa.pt