Julião Sarmento’s Roman Photo photonovel, with photos from 1978, is a nostalgic and ironic edition of the all so fashionable photonovels from the 70s and 80s in Portugal and the rest of Europe. Thought by the artist at the time, the concept ended up losing itself in time, recovering only this year the opportunity to be produced. This edition, published by Taffimai, will be presented this Tuesday, 22nd of December at Zé dos Bois Gallery, gained a new identity from the one it would have had if it had been launched at the time to which it belongs.
Ana Nobre de Gusmão, Helena Vasconcelos, José Vasconcelos e Sousa, Julião Sarmento, Maria Manuel Gusmão, Miguel Vasconcelos, and Pedro Graça are the actors in costumes who get together at Juzo Village, where the story takes place. This environment, even though seemingly childish and comical, is heavily sexual. The lines spoken by the actors of this comic strip are philosophy and literature words of Denis Hollier, Georges Bataille, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Jürgen Habermas, Maurice Blanchot, Michel Foucault, Philippe Sollers, and T.S. Eliot, quotes which even though planned were only set this year. These speech balloons appear and disappear without consequence, without the characters entering in an intellectual conversation with each other about them, even though paradoxically they don’t step out from physical intimacy.
Artist Julião Sarmento (1948, Lisbon, Portugal), maintain a career at the frontline of contemporary art’s scene in Portugal and internationally, being Roman Photo an edition as contemporary as it would have been in the 70s. He studied painting and architecture at the then fine Arts School of Lisbon, and has been exhibiting at large since the 70s as a group and individually. An eclectic lifework of painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, performance, sound, installation, and site-specific pieces has given Julião Sarmento a career of great visibility.