30 X 40 cm
Printed on Hahnemühle paper, in an edition of five copies and one artist’s proof. 


Nuno Cera is the second artist to be invited by EMPTY CUBE to create a work specifically for the purpose of e-mail distribution. ‘Untitled (Glissements progressifs du plaisir)’ is a 2012 work in digital format, based on a 30x40 cm piece, originally printed on Hahnemühle paper, in an edition of five copies and one artist’s proof.

The image Nuno Cera has chosen for this project displays an approach that is doubly speculative: first, as a reflection on temporality, and then on the narrative possibilities the depiction of a face can inspire as a genre (the portrait).  
The figure’s apparent blurring suggests a motion regarding which we know nothing. It may have been generated by the model or by a dislocation of the camera, which would indicate the author’s need to resort to photography as a means to reference the image in motion as a movement in time, thus distancing himself from the photograph’s ability to depict that which is precisely visible at a certain moment. The woman’s face is part of a spectral range that conveys a feeling of uncertainty, almost imperfection, regarding the qualities and details that make it unique.    
Consequently, the picture’s spectral depth brings greater plasticity to the presence of the face, in a deviation from those photographic portraits that favour a more generic and traditional form of representation, in which the model’s personality traits and other quirks that may emerge through facial expressions are toned down. The near-abstract image places us within a field of equivocal references, since a positive identification of the sitter eludes us; even gender identity remains contradictory and somewhat ambiguous. With this, the artist is clearly attempting to prolong the connections and cross-pollinations between photography and painting that, throughout the 20th century, have questioned the status of the image and the conditions of its perception.
Another feature of the piece highlights the cinematic poetics of this photograph: its subtitle, ‘Glissements progressifs du plaisir’. Here, Nuno Cera resorts to the literary form, to written language, in order to evoke the notions of transitoriness (impermanence) and temporal development, while underscoring an expectation regarding the reality of motion and the various phases the image displays without objectifying its model, which approaches the universe of painting, thus reclaiming the portrait as both a genre and as a genealogy of all the pathos a face may inspire.    

João Silvério
January 2013