Darkness Reflections was Margarida Sardinha first solo show at Museum Casa Fernando Pessoa in Lisbon, Portugal for which she conceived three site-specific installations and a sketchbook (exhibition catalogue) based on the idea of memory as a fundamental section of each individual; there are personalities and subjects which are common to the whole world, some only to a specific country and there are also some that only relate to a sole family… She considered Fernando Pessoa’s immortality in Portuguese literature and culture as a contribution to the growth process, leading us (Portuguese) to a different stage of knowledge. Pessoa praised diversity above uniformity and through his work he assured us that mankind’s improvement is based on multiplicity upon unification and purification. His multiple personalities (heteronyms) interact in a parallel level and none is more truthful or powerful than another, they exist in our memory horizontally as part of a whole.
site-specific installation of 4 slide sequence projections onto mirrors and walls
To “Know” Fernando Pessoa is therefore: to “Remember” him…
Darkness Reflexions “remembers” in an intuitive, symbolic and artistic way Pessoa’s creative process and its influence in the development of our culture by using a hermetic cabalistic parallelism related with his heteronyms (Masters – natural knowledge’s stages and degrees). As a visual source for this Gnostic allegory that lies upon the poet’s research on the Rosicrucian, Masonic and theosophical initiation methods appears Sacred Geometry and the Kabala’s Tree of Life as the imagery support and structure for the exhibition. The study and research done in ancient geometrical shapes and polyhedra metaphorically reveal Fernando Pessoa’s evolution between one stage of spirit-conscience and another. The show also presents the usage of 3D anaglyph imagery, which gives us a personal and non-dogmatic experience about the analogy of the spiritual in the material. This three-dimensional experience alludes to higher dimensions and the transcendence reached by Fernando Pessoa through his work and esoteric initiations. The ascendant and descendant dialectic of the gnoseological dualism is being represented by a mirrors and projections game in which the traveling light relates to the creative process of fragmentation and unification; it also connects with the four stages of knowledge and transmigration of Plato’s Cave Allegory and these relate respectively with the four main hetheronymns of Pessoa. This transmutation is also mystically explored in Alchemy where the search for Philosopher’s Stone and its virtues were resampled by nature’s images inserted in polyhedra.
The Darkness Reflexions exhibition is an allegory to the constant confrontation of all past and present creative processes in order to achieve the Absolute Truth, the Absolute Knowledge, the Absolute Justice and the Absolute Emotion through all the ways imaginarily possible...
As Above, so Below...
site-specific installation of 4 inflatable floating spheres filled with helium gas, 10kg weights
dimensions: 10ft diameter (each sphere) - video documentation
“That which is Above is the same as that which is Below… Macrocosms is the same as Microcosms. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man…” Drawing on this Gnostic hermetic maxim and its unity of spiritual reality and material interpretation, which is ultimately fractal, the work, compares it to the Portuguese writer and philosopher, Fernando Pessoa’s several personalities (heteronyms) for he created many entities under himself – Oneness – faces of the same conscience-spirit. Thus, the installation of four 10ft floating spheres relates the four gnoseological knowledge’s phases of Plato’s Cave Allegory and Fernando Pessoa’s four main heteronyms as well as to the polyhedra comprised within the sphere (referring to Timaeus) where the ascendant and descendent dialectic of Platonic aporistic dialogue is envisioned. Pessoa’s process of fragmentation and unification is mystically compared with the cyclic, and metaphorically alchemic, geometrical ratios within the polyhedra compounds’ geometry and its irrational geometric proportions and progressions recurring essence suggest the transmigration of the soul in which both Plato and Pessoa believed. This work was exhibited in the solo show “Darkness Reflexions” that used as a starting point the Platonic proposition “To Know is to Remember.” in order to “remember” in a geometric and symbolic way Pessoa’s creative process where his heteronyms are considered past-lives that the writer simply channeled through Gnostic initiatory methods. Fernando Pessoa never published any organized book while he was alive (except for one book “The Message”) leaving only loose written pages with the initials of the respective heteronym marked on its corner, thus, providing us with a free and always personal interpretation of his vast work such as this one developed by Margarida Sardinha.
The Gods have not died... is a site-specific photographic (3D) installation based on the architectural structure of the museum. It uses it to resemble the structure of the Kabalistic Tree of Life for as the viewer goes up or down the museum’s stairs he/she finds the several heteronyms of Fernando Pessoa related to the Sephiroth in an ascendant or descent ascesis. The several personalities of the writer are here interpreted as hermetic streams of consciousness represented by the sacred geometry’s polyhedra mentioned in the Socratic Dialogue – Timaeus – and others derived from them. These symbols revert to Rosicrucian and Free Masonry practices and rituals, which, Fernando Pessoa studied in depth as well as theosophical principles in which he was interested. The symbols then relate to the ten Sephiroth and respectively with their immanent attributes and paths of communion with God reveling a possible mystical and Gnostic interpretation of the poet’s various transmutations, who defined himself as a Christian Gnostic. Hence, The Gods have not died... forms yet another perspective on how the work of this writer and philosopher can be understood.
Darkness Reflexions Sketchbook the catalogue of the exhibition comprising tree site-specific installations - “As Above, so Below…”, “The Gods have not died…” and “Darkness Reflexions”. On the catalogue’s 80 pages are revealed the parallelisms explored on the hermetic and gnostic concept of the show based on Fernando Pessoa’s esoteric and kabalistic side. The photomontages and respective texts relate to each other on a Theosophical level giving emphasis to the fact that Fernando Pessoa translated the works of Blavatsky into Portuguese. One finds his texts written under different heteronyms and as himself (ortonym) related to an alchemical process as well as to the respective Sephiroth in the kabalistic Tree of Life along with Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This Gnostic interpretation developed by Margarida Sardinha links Plato’s gnoseological stages – Eikasia, Pistis, Dianoia and Noesis – to Pessoa’s main personalities Alberto Caeiro being the empirical knowledge, Ricardo Reis being the belief or faith knowledge, Alvaro de Campos being the scientific or abstract knowledge and Fernando Pessoa himself (ortonym) being the intuitive knowledge.
Álvaro de Campos - Thifereth
Darkness Reflexions resultant animation used in vjing for PartArt fundraising events in London 2003
Documentation by Margarida Sardinha