This is a continuous documentary on the islands of the Ria Formosa lagoon, in the South of Portugal. Through it I offer a geographical and social reflection on the only inhabited islands of continental Portugal.
ILHAS points primarily to a specific territory – Culatra Island – within the beautiful and ever-changing archipelago of the Ria Formosa. The author returns to a place he never really left from, of intense and unique magnetism, a place of unrepeatable, ungraspable light.
But ILHAS also represents metaphorically a more vast territory in the Algarve, equally fragmented, diverse, and filled with multiple identities.
More important than that, these images reveal a land of very particular dynamics, and whose insularity and isolation helped foster peculiar processes of accumulation, distribution, and combination. These can be understood as absolutely singular, spontaneous practices of sculpture. In other words, this aspect is the third characteristic of ILHAS, and that which subtly links all three to a largest show where it is inscribed, and of which the main core is in exhibition at Faro’s Municipal Museum. Each individual is an island: the focus of Vasco Célio’s interest is on that form of radical individuality.
The photographer gives us a vision of Culatra Island like he had never done before. In fact, he never loses the meaning, nor the coherence of the images, and thus he produces meaning from the relations woven among them, and establishing a predominantly monochromatic tonality, as well as a filtered, soft light, which underline a sense of suspension, as if time were permanently postponed, awaiting, as if the gestures incorporated in the objects were no more than ways of stressing that duration.
For Vasco Célio, the practice of photography is not clearly the making of chance, or of inspiration – it is rather an articulated language, a construction, a work on delay. It is, to sum up, an ethics of observation and a statement; physical implication, and mental removal.
Nuno Faria, 2010