Stories and Desires from who Sleeps (exhibition´s text)

“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is 

getting it.”   Oscar Wilde

Most times we look at ourselves without seeing ourselves. The mirror is perhaps the

only object that intends to reproduce neatly whom it puts himself in front of it. It is the only

one which obliges us to accept a present loaded with a past. It does not foresee or make a

prospect. It testifies. Silently, testifies. The mirror retains the corporeity in us. And that which

dematerializes in our absence. It is the only object that succeeds in accompanying, loyally,

all the movements of our body. Without surprising it. In this, the mirror competes with the

shadow. But the shadow is laconic in the details. The memory of the mirror is always fleeting,

intermittent. The mirror just remembers us when we confront it, face to face, to enquire it.

The mirror is not interested in reflecting a Story, because Life is enough for it. Stories,

anecdotes, desires, pleasures, all that may become obsessions, all those are a part of the

silenced tragedies of hard access even to the mirror. The project “Stories and desires from 

who sleeps” tries to reflect them to the spectator.

Cecilia de Val questions the individual identity by means of the multiplicity of the

“Me”. If we could print all the images reflected on a mirror during a lifetime we should get a

never-ending record. But the mirror insists on concealing what it shows. Cecilia de Val does

just the opposite. She tries to show on a single narration the splitting of her character in

heteronymous. It is not us. But we do not give up being ourselves.

And we do not give up being ourselves either when we dream. The situations that we

create or devise during the time we sleep belong to the most private sphere. Nobody dreams

other people’s dreams. In dreams we generate a parallel life in which we live when we are

awake.  We reproduce, in a sublime fashion, a reality which is familiar to us but which seems

unique, full of vertigoes. Johann Ryno de Wet objectifies his unconscious by fixing the

remnants of his dreams on a photographic medium. Are we more honest regarding our

desires when we sleep? Víctor Hugo said that “we should judge a man much more surely 

from what he dreams than from what he thinks”.

If the dialogue that our own body establishes with the mirror is not always prolific, due

to a lack of honesty, we cannot say the same about the relationship between body and

desire. Repressions, perversions, and transgressions carve the latter until it takes a human

shape. The body is a sacred temple to desire. Ana Rito estimulates the viewer to unveil an

incomplete reality. The desire lives out of that mental seduction. The body already “is”. All the

rest is “being”.

Too often we feel like running to a mirror and enquire it, or better, enquire ourselves:

at the end of the day, who are we? Margarida Paiva goes further and enquires Who lives in 

my head? And she does it in a so close fashion that it takes us to desperation. We become

obsessive-compulsive of our own selves. Or of another “Me” that exists in “Us”. We are afraid

to take over our fragility. We are afraid of not finding a coherent reason to our tragedies. We

are afraid of being unable to decide if we should carry out our dreams or let them die.

We run to the mirror. Turn off the light. Stop seeing us. Silence.

Cláudia Camacho


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