On the light of architecture

Architect by training, Nelson Miranda started using photography to support his architecture work. However, five years ago he began to see it in a different way. After the success of his sole exhibition, Paisagem Velada (Veiled Landscape) in 2014, he returns to the Adorna Corações gallery in Porto with O Espaço Duplicado (The Duplicated Space).

There are common points in both series; spaces stripped bare, theatrically sculpted using only natural light. A light that struggles to enter: here the environment is always dusk; shadow and mystery predominate.

There is, however, a substantial difference between the two projects. If the first involved several industrial environments, the most recent centres around a single scene, and as theatrically as possible: the office of a textile factory in Vale do Ave (Portugal), now closed – a fact that not only evokes a recent past as much as raising rather prescient political questions. Sixteen photographs have been selected from seven hundred and thirty. In a corner is a book of textile sample records that was found in the office and that has been given new life with prints of photographs interspersed amongst the pages.

The author admits: “My biggest influences come from cinema.” He has, he says, developed these projects “using the space, the architecture, the territory as a theme; never an attempt to create a documental record but rather, through the study of the light of the space, another type of narrative, a different type of feeling or emotion.”

Of the exhibition, he remarks: “In this project, one of the principal themes is how light can sculpt the space. Only ever natural light. It is much easier to create ambiances in an interior space. This is a deactivated, abandoned space. It exists more or less as we see it. It has that mystery of what has been…although I do not make it obvious, perhaps you can see that this is an office space. But what type of offices? I’m interested in maintaining a vague content, this mystery, so that the viewer can also construct his own narrative of these photos, or put together his own story about these spaces.”

Rodrigo Afreixo, in Sábado nº655, November 2016