Aventura – Renato Leotta at Madragoa Gallery in Lisbon

Aventura, a solo exhibition by Renato Leotta, begins the program of the new gallery, Madragoa in Lisbon.

Lisbon, April 2016


On the beaches of the Atlantic coast north of Lisbon, we wondered taking care not to step on the drawings that the ocean had created on the sand, once it retired in the low tide.

As soon as the huge water masses diminished, according to the laws of cosmic attraction, they left before our eyes samples of curves, lines and ridges. An alphabet of sand images that every day tells a different version of the same story.

The time allowed to the observation of this phenomenon is governed by the stars and in particular by the Moon and the Sun; soon the ocean would have moved, gradually erasing what it had drawn, just to reformulate afterwards a new script.

It led to the intuition that the history of the Time coincides with the history of the Space, which in that moment was going to slowly shrink, forcing the western border to get a few tens of meters closer to Athens; and it forced us to quickly fall back to the rocks, as if in a game shaped after the movement of the accordion, drawing a constantly oscillating border which could mark the beginning or the end of a story (or a continent).

We recovered some of these images by making casts of the surface of the beach and from them we obtained the positive using clay boards in order to preserve them and observe their shapes later in time with more attention.

Although the cosmic force that determines the movement of the tides acts impartially on all parts of the globe, the nature of the tide at any particular place is a local and specific matter; their manifestation can be very different even if they occur within a short geographic distance, depending on the topographical features of this or that other bay.

This phenomenon escapes the possibility of being caught through a dethatched impartiality, describing an ever- changing horizon that can not be determined recurring to general formula; just like the city and the people who inhabit this or that place, the sea takes the shape of the space it occupies.

The trace of salt that emerged on the fabrics after the water was evaporated in the sun indicates the discriminate between the immersed part and the portion which remained on the surface. All these experiences were gathered as a collection of broken down horizons.

If we consider the ocean as a complex organic system, capable of describing our planet, and we compare the mass of water existing on the surface to the organs of the human body, the Mediterranean Sea might look like the stomach, able to digest and translate the natural elements into a viscerally told story of man and his deepest intimacy.

Thousands nautical miles away on the same meridian, in the Egadi islands, I tried to record the image that could better describe this adventure, a suspension in which we place ourselves as human beings and where the entire course of history takes place.

I imagined the sea as a large dark room and the moon as an enlarger whose phases determine the diaphragm apertures. On the surface of the paper, the light was registered, modulated by the Scirocco breezes and the motion of the waves and small whirlpools.

Text by Renato Leotta


Madragoa – Rua Do Machadinho 45, 1200-705 Lisbona
Opening Thursday 28 April at 9pm
29 April – 12 June 2016