Nuno Cera’ s work, be it the photographs he has been producing since 1995, be it the more recent super 8 movies is speedy. I have said speedy and not on speed, since these are two utterly different affairs. This implies that the procedure, the creative approach of Nuno Cera is spawned from a vision exerted out of a quick perception, exerted as if from a glance, over the object from which the image is focused on, operating as a pretext, a motif. Hence, these are not frontal images, all of them are in motion – taken from a car, capturing the rotation of a face, breezing through a building. This is their programme of inexorable contemporaneousness, which is not sought, nor is it stylistic, nor does it stems out of any quest for a particular “lifestyle”. What, first and foremost, connects Nuno Cera’s images in between them is the ability to convert the representation of the landscape in motion. Bearing this in mind, the super 8 movies he has been developing appear to be their natural destination, their momentary outcome. They do not depict the speed of the city, much more a speedy perception of the city. A flight of sorts.
The opposite of the landscape is the map. The establishment of topologies implies a rationally orchestrated vision. It is the contrary of what happens when we travel by car, taking on a certain road, since our orientation is elaborated from of a vision rising out of what we cross, based on a simple device: the automobile’s windshield. Nuno Cera’s images contemplate the outside from a screen – mimicked in the photographic camera, the lens, the windshield – selecting a field which then becomes a landscape starting from the moment a field of vision, an horizon is installed.
There is no fascination whatsoever by the world, nor any fascination by the landscape as history of an order of vision, much more an interest in the landscape as a selection. The landscape, as defined by Nuno Cera, is the output of a vision crossing a field and, selectively, finding a focus. This focus then becomes constitutive of a question mark: why is this block, this building, this street a motif? The answer is that they have all became motifs because they were selected as such. They were thus transformed into landscape, in the sense that they became the reason of the halting of our gaze’s motion.
This method of selection is quite close to a process of editing, in a cinematic kind of way. To behold, to choose, to connect, to fabricate raccords. This is the genuine course of action of Nuno Cera and only through this direction, through this sense, does his work acquires a serial component. In fact, the serial nature constant in the sets of pictures he presents does not hail from a theory of series (in the sense given by John Coplans as an open structure) but much more from a methodology of connections, sustained by a clear device – corners of building, record covers, portrayals of digital characters – elaborating, in such a way, a narrative cloth devoid of any drama.
Many of Nuno Cera’s photographs are constructed from a vanishing point located at the end of a corridor, a tunnel or a passageway. Such a vanishing point is the destination of our gaze but, much more than that, it builds an available space to be navigated by our eyes or, better yet, to suck up our attention. Therefore, Nuno Cera’s photographs are, occasionally, more than two-dimensional images: they are permeable spaces. These are images defining themselves in the sense of their possibility, or the future of our body. They are, thus, crossings.
Being crossings, they are posited in between – moments, conditions, places. But the substance of this transient situation emerges out of them never being, in reality, what they appear to be although they always are, solely, what they show. This transient situation is complex and contradictory and it seems to me that in it lies the quintessential trait of Nuno Cera’s work, its most magnetic gift. When the images present to us faces of videogames’ characters they are, in fact, characters who dwelled in computer monitors being presented but only just because their recognition as such is dubious, in the sense that, through them, a disturbing humanity crosses by. This means that the reason they are shown to us is located in their contradictory internal character, in the paradox to which they orient us to – how can I recognize what I have never seen?
This interrogation is the starting point that has been balancing, in a slender and metallic field, the work of Nuno Cera. As slender as it is metallic.