Ballad of Today
Photos by André Cepeda
Music by Maria Reis and Gabriel Ferrandini
"This exhibition is, if you like, an existential proposition on what the world is today. And sound is part of that." — Urs Stahel*
Gabriel Ferrandini, “Music for Ballad of Today, side A”, 2019-2020.
Maria Reis, “Music for Ballad of Today, side A”, 2019-2020.
“… The Innerworld of the Outerworld of the Innerworld, title of a famous book by Peter Handke, formulates the awareness that each sentence – or in the case of André Cepeda, each image – has a history. With the result that the sentence by sentence description of the outerworld constitutes simultaneously a description of the innerworld, the consciousness of the author and vice versa and again vice versa. Just as all the passageways, streets and corners are woven into the urban fabric, so too does the order of this interior appear like the inner fabric or psychogram of those who live there. Whoever lives here seems to be out and about. Just like the photographer. …” — Urs Stahel**
Gabriel Ferrandini, “Music for Ballad of Today, side B”, 2019-2020.
Maria Reis, “Music for Ballad of Today, side B”, 2019-2020.
“… André Cepeda’s photography is not conceptual. It does not follow a prescribed structure or clearly formulated concept, nor is it in this regard a static and confirmatory documentation or proof. Rather, it is an expression of what is seen, lived, experienced, explored, sensed, smelled and tasted. Cepeda opens himself up to a given situation, to many situations, and to different times and grey areas, which in this case means the city of Lisbon. He rambles through this city, following his instincts, his curiosity, his will to tackle the urban reality head on and get closer to it by immersing himself in it. This is a very personal form of real time visual urban and social archaeology. Although he is usually out and about with a professional camera, a big box and a tripod, taking 4x5-inch photographs, his images often look as though some wet-nosed stray dog had snapped them while sniffing around the urban textures, the pavement, the façades, the stairwell tiling and all the different materials, rooting into corners and exploring situations, with inherent sensitivity. And then moving on.
The result is the ballad of a city, a visual song of the built environment and its architecture, a ballad of the urban system, of community, of individual and collective existence, and of power structures. Visual snippets of today’s society, often viewed from its faltering margins, the place from where we can best ascertain the qualities of any society. There are no signs here of the high-octane motor driving the economy at full tilt. …”
— Urs Stahel**
“… One enters a hard and tender city, a strange, incomprehensible yet still human world, as the portraits throughout the exhibition highlight. And it is set to music again, which emanates from two dark rooms and permeates through the exhibition. For his ballad, André is aided by Gabriel Ferrandini on drums, percussion and amplification and Maria Reis on vocals. ‘It was a three-person job. We recorded a record and went on tour [as a trio they played together, for example, at Galeria Zé dos Bois in 2019]. I realised that music was part of this landscape that was taking shape.’ Gabriel’s percussion resembles the beating of a heart, while Maria Reis’s voice suggests the movement of a procession, but they don’t always listen to each other. It depends on the path the spectator chooses. …” — José Marmeleira*
* José Marmeleira, “André Cepeda’s City is Hard and Tender” (Público / Ípsilon, 02/10/2020).
** Urs Stahel, from the text “Reality’s Wake-up Call a Way of Reading”, Ballad of Today, Pierre von Kleist Editions, 2020.
André Cepeda: Ballad of Today, on view at maat (Central, 23/09–25/01/2021), is curated by Urs Stahel. It includes around 80 photographs, black and white and in colour, in various formats and display modes, and two sound installations that result from the collaboration of musicians Maria Reis and Gabriel Ferrandini. On the occasion, a book with the same title is published by Pierre von Kleist Editions.
All images by André Cepeda, untitled, from the series “Ballad of Today”, Lisbon, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.