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Maria Loura Estevão – S.O.S.
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Curator: João Pinharanda
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Image Credit
Maria Loura Estevão, "Naufrage sur table", 2011. Courtesy of the artist.
05/10/2023 - 04/12/2023

Maria Loura Estevão's installation S.O.S. takes as its starting point the Homeric poem The Odyssey – and in particular the passage of Ulysses and his companions through the territory of the sirens – to thematise underwater noise pollution and the maritime passage of migrants and refugees through the Mediterranean.


Sound is the central element of the installation and this extends into the dimensions of the double meaning of the French word sirènes, which means both mermaids and sirens – united in the role that the artist attributes to the mermaids of Ulysses as being the first feminist echoes that sound warnings. The sound here has the meaning of an alarm.


The installation features underwater sounds - sounds of fish - from the Tagus estuary and images conceived from the passive acoustic probe. Four theremin (Theremini Moog), musical instruments which, in this installation, represent the mermaids/sirens that resonate when a body crosses the electromagnetic field, appear hanging from the ceiling reflecting the cardinal points. Four inflatable boats (salvaged) are placed on the speakers, allowing you to feel the sound waves transmitted through the air.


Maria Loura Estevão (Torrão do Alentejo, 1960) emigrated to Le Havre, France, at the age of nine. She attended Ar.Co – Centre for Art & Visual Communication and the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lisbon. In 1991 she graduated from the Ecole Supérieure d'art et de Design Le Havre-Rouen and the UFR Arts, Philosophie, Esthétique – Université Paris 8, Saint-Denis. In 1995 she completed a master's degree at Goldsmiths – University of London. Her artistic career includes the solo exhibitions Élevée(s) en galerie (Galerie Duchamp centre d'art contemporain, Yvetot, 2013), Dis moi ce que tu manges et je te dirai qui je suis (Le Parvis centre d'art contemporain, Ibos, 2007) and Femme qui court (VidéoK. 01, Le Parvis centre d'art contemporain, Pau, 2007), participation in the group exhibition Lá Fora – Artistas Portugueses (Edifício Fernando Távora, Viana Do Castelo, 2008, Museu da Electricidade, Lisboa, 2009), and the monograph Maria Loura Estevão, with texts by Evelyne Toussaint and Pierre Giquel (VidéoK. 01, Le Parvis centre d'art contemporain, Pau, 2008). In 2020, she began to explore the sounds caused by the movement of the body in a magnetic field, thanks to the first electric instrument invented in 1920 by Leon Theremin.


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