saudade

excerpts

This project has developed at the ends of Europe: Cabo da Roca, North Cape, Gavdos Island, Istanbul and Vorkuta. Save for Istanbul, all the other locations are considered the most extreme points of the continent. These places are also extremely distant for me, an inhabitant of the central mainland of Europe, which I had never left before.

It is an inspection without an external reference frame, an attempt at overcoming solipsism. Tracing a border around the space of all past experiences, I survey the emerging whole.  I discover which pieces of what I know stay at home and which accompany me regardless of where I look.

My first end is the Portuguese cliff Cabo da Roca, situated less than 50 kilometres from Lisbon. A foggy winter weather blurs the line between the ocean and the sky. The final vertical border takes the shape of a steep cliff drop. I am trying to see this through the eyes of a European who lived a few centuries earlier, who would have been told this was the end of the world. Nothing further. At this moment, it is also the end for me – looking at the ocean, I turn my back on all I know.

Saudade. A word without translation that could have been conceived only in a country  completely out of anyone’s way, where memories of the former power and prosperity clash with the modern peripheral existence and abundant poverty. Images from Cabo da Roca radiate towards the mainland. Saudade is referred to as the Portuguese way of life in which one constantly misses and longs for something, where one acquires a taste for nostalgia. You could say the entire Portugal is an end. From the coast I take with me this word. Its meaning comes back to me, redefined with every new end.

2014 – 2016

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© Baltazar Fajto 2018