Alexandre Estrela
»O Cobra Verde«, 2009
Video, DVD to FLV, colour, sound, 4:40 min
Sound: Paul de Jong
Courtesy the artist

Alexandre Estrela

December 10, 2010 – January 30, 2011

Invited by Natxo Checa (Curator for Visual Arts and Deputy Director of ZDB, Lissabon)

»O Cobra Verde« (2009)

In 2009, I curated a show entitled »Bright Morning Star«, that was a tribute to the great film wizard Kenneth Anger. The show, which benefited from the presence of Mister Anger himself, hosted several artists that, in a direct or indirect way, were inspired by the filmmaker. At that time, I was working closely with Alexandre Estrela in a residence, where we attempted to transfer to the open fields and meadows and to nature his experimental studio work based on perceptive illusions, the autonomy of images and their physical qualities. As he also maintains his studio ind Lisboa, an open door to regular experimental cinema screening at his studio, I asked him if he wanted to participate in this project.

It was with surprise that he presented to me »O Cobra Verde«, a primal scream that spooked the show with uncanny strangeness. »O Cobra Verde« is a night shot video, that presents a long traveling shot over a two hundred year old ivy, which crawls along an iron fence. The video unveils the secular struggle of the plant, moving and eating iron in its passage. This hybrid being unleashes this strange and intense lament, comparable to the realm of Antonin Artaud’s inner violence. A state of permanent existence, without point of origin, without God. Later, Estrela revealed that the sound, made by his friend Paul de Jong (from the band The Books), was the sound of a newborn child pitched down to the voice of an adult, with hyenas and lions in the background. He also told me that the title »O Cobra Verde« derived from the distorted technique used by Klaus Kinsky when facing the camera in the film »Cobra Verde« (1987) by Werner Herzog.

Text: Natxo Checa

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