EDITION: (Catalogue) Centro Cultural Vila Flor     DATE: September 2013 

António Júlio Duarte’s photographs need no introduction. They don’t follow a defined working methodology, or
form part of a refined and rationally calculated construction process. Instead they are the fruit of a search
process that is motivated by a certain spirit of nomadism, conducted on the basis of daily wanderings through the
urban spaces of our everyday lives. The author’s movements enable him to capture events, situations and
moments that uphold the sensitive state of observation to which he submits himself. When, during the course of
his wanderings, he is confronted by something that is significantly strong or attractive, a kind of break, rupture,
or interruption occurs in the chain of subjective involvement to which he has subjected himself, thus establishing
a commitment to reality. This commitment to reality, incisively interferes with his attention, and leads him to
photograph it.

Each itinerary constructed within his day-to-day life corresponds to an exploration strategy, while at the same
time, constitutes a means for the artist to interact with reality without a defined direction, through the creation
of relationships, correspondences, oppositions, similarities and contradictions. A commonplace event - that is
seemingly irrelevant or of no artistic interest - may be a sufficiently good and stimulating reason, because it may
be used to create a long series of photographs. Given that there is no pre-established approach in the various
topics addressed, each image represents an acceptance of everything that is offered to the artist as a natural
consequence of his visually sensitive state of mind, receptive to his surroundings, ready to use every encountered
moment for mental anticipation of reconstruction thereof, via photographs.

According to Régis Debray, man "is the only animal that does not subject himself to physical life, because he
structures his behaviour patterns in accordance with his beliefs or determines their immediate relevance in
function of non-current factors - visions, legends, missing or expected things (...) the human nervous system adds
a represented world to the perceived world, a surreal interior to the exterior environment”. Art therefore enables
us to extract a kind of subtext, an ineffable excess, that is resistant to any attempt of objectification. António
Júlio Duarte’s photographs can provide us with both information concerning many of the subjects or topics that
he has recorded, and also reveal the different types of motivation that have influenced him. However, what
remains from this communication process are simple after-images, extracted from true events, that have been
processed internally. All the images are ambivalent and founded on a fleeting duality (interior / exterior,
subjective / objective, reason / emotion) that is applicable in their interpretation, thus expressing
insurmountable communication deficits. It is perhaps this impossibility in unravelling the truth, in light of the
reality of the recorded moment in time, that enables the artist to overcome his feeling of remoteness and non-

The set of images on display suggests a narrative of personal exploration, manifested via a sequence of field
observations, perceived as records from a secret diary.  This idea of a diary-style recording, without an overtly
autobiographical character, is transformed into a sensation of start/beginning or completion/end of a personal
journey, that is always incomplete and inconclusive, always obscure and strange, due to spaces which have been
rendered banal, exhausted by the proliferation of everyday images. Via each image-based record, the captured
moment manifests itself, without the concern of creating any photographic content that is intentionally
connected to reality. The photographs appear as breaks, interruptions and ruptures within a process of
continuity, as various incidents captured from a past event that will be forever incomplete, truncated, scattered
and incomprehensible.  Understanding the lack of informative data concerning that which is no longer present
requires a complex exercise in abstraction. We can only situate ourselves within each of the images shown by
abdicating any knowledge of the true spatial and temporal correlations of the places that have been
photographed. In this manner, on the basis of the void caused by the lack of references, we can construe an
imaginative construction, based on a strange sense of powerlessness, caused by the confrontation between the
observed image and the inaccessible truth. Antonio Julio Duarte’s photographs don’t impose a single observation
regime, nor a single method of interpretation. They are vestiges of an individual restructuring, that can fuel each
viewer’s imagination. The inherent conflicts - evident in the incompatibility between the nature of words and the
symbolic power of the images as an effective form of expression - are temporarily suspended by the obliterated,
neutral and intangible gaze that is denounced by each photograph. What one can see doesn’t depend on
contingencies, nor the random factor of a discourse, that is always distorting and misleading. The images are
transfigurations, devoured by their own meaning, a fragile, intimate and mysterious construction, as if, a foreign
and fantasized body hovers over each image, that surrounds and redefines it.

This work by António Júlio Duarte is partially documented in the book "Deviation of the Sun", which is a
separate object and constitutes a distanced framework from this exhibition project, but nonetheless forms part of
a broader process of selection and reordering of images, and was used to structure this exhibition. To this effect,
we are led to conclude that it is not possible to close definitively the countless combinations and narrative
possibilities that the set of recorded images enables us to explore. António Júlio Duarte’s exhibition is constituted
by a series of photographic prints selected from a vast body of photographic work, which dates from 1997, and is
also presented to us, in the form of contact sheets. By including the latter in the context of the artist's exhibition,
we have unprecedented access to a detailed and comprehensive treatment of an essential part of his work. This
enables us to structure our viewing and evaluation of the exhibition, not only on the basis of its final results (i.e.
the photographs that the artist decides to exhibit and to order using the prism of a specific narrative or discourse)
but also in terms of its preparatory research work, editing and decisions, based on artistic intentions, thus
providing us with cartographic elements that can help us understand the work that is explicitly assumed herein
in the form of contact sheets.