The Park

Eduardo Padilha
1 May 2002 to 8 May 2002

(Residency January to April 2002)

Itinerant Brazilian artist Eduardo Padilha is a collector of fragments taken from people’s lives. For years, wherever he has lived, he collected old Super-8 film footage from flea markets of people travelling, re-editing the material to create new narratives. He is fascinated by movement: this could be the movement of people between places and spaces, on travels abroad or going about their daily routines; repeated movements of objects in space, such as a kite being flown in the air or someone practising acrobatics; and also movement within mental and temporal spaces.

Following a four-month residency during which he filmed people’s daily activities in Brockwell Park near Brixton, Padilha presented four edited films as part of his exhibition at 198 Gallery. The footage for the projected films were shot on grainy Super-8 film stock and have been slowed down to focus on the captured movements, giving them a somewhat otherworldly quality. The films feature regular users of the park, going about their daily activities in this community leisure space. As with his use of found material, Padilha is working with fragments of narrative, abstracting them to the point where they have ‘no beginning and no end’. The idea of ‘the park’ interests Padilha as ‘a reconstruction of “natural landscape” in an urban environment’. These landscapes are recorded and described in the form of maps, whose complex networks of lines and shapes have inspired Padilha to produce his response in the form of drawings.

This series of colourful and evocative drawings simultaneously appear both representational and abstract. He has created ‘landscapes’ of marks, suggesting movement in the surface. In one drawing, meandering parallel lines suggest the contours of an Ordnance Survey map. Elsewhere, there is a floral burst of colour. As a group they form a kind of map that goes off in different directions. The topography of this ‘landscape’ is also imbued with the sense of an open-ended and non-linear narrative. It could be compared to an album or diary, a record of life in constant development.