Initially conceived for an ample and neutral room of Manifesta7, in 2008, this video-installation by Meg Stuart is now re-contextualized in the Albertas’ Chapel, inside the MNAA – National Museum of Antique Art in Lisbon. The chapel was the Saint Albert Convent, a female Carmelite convent founded in the end of the 16th century and probably only few remember it. The site has been closed and is in need of repairs, being opened exclusively and temporarily for the showing of this piece.
Meg Stuart is exposed. A human face in a space of human hyper-representation. The real exposed in a place of representation. Stuart looks at us, face to face, without artifice and with the determination of someone talking to us, yet her eyes falter to the point we question: is it us who look at Stuart or is Stuart the one looking at us?
We look at Meg Stuart. And in her face we don’t just see the simple exhibit of appearance, of what is in the front of the head or what it involves, this meaning that her face is not really understood in a plastic, aesthetic or psychological sense. It reveals otherness.
Meg Stuart looks at us. And in that gesture we find imposition, giving orders and asking for clemency, as Emmanuel Lévinas says: “the face of the Other reminds the obligations of the ‘I’”.
Meg Stuart’s face, a female entity inside this chapel once inhabited only by reclusive women, brings us the counterpoint of a city’s speed and an experienced body, traveler and free. In this place of refuge, of mystery and of silence we see a face, a human being, we see a woman, a dancer and choreographer. Meg Stuart’s face is not on the plane of playing. It permeates the space.


Curator John Romão
Supports Goethe Institut Lisbon, National Museum of Antique Art / Direção-Geral do Património Cultural

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