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Contretemps is a project developed during a residency at the Cité Internationale des arts between January and March 2020. The research proposed by Romeu Silveira thus takes as its starting point the possibilities of translating the word “contretemps” into French and Portuguese, to generate an experimental process and a reflection on the relationship of images to temporality. The result is a series of collages, photographs, and collected and assembled objects that cohabit within the same publication. This page presents all the work that is part of this project and that resulted in the book published in 2021 and the movie released in 2023.

Contretemps is an inventory of events and images that collide and affect each other within a montage based on the overlapping of temporalities and senses. It is a visual diary produced in the tension of a world that was about to close and change completely because of the pandemic. It is a research that takes as a starting point the possibilities of translation of the word “contretemps”, both in French and Portuguese, to generate an experimental process that reveals itself in series of collages, photographic series, objects, sound installations, video performances, artist books and interventions in printed media. The book Contretemps can also be found in the collection of the photography books library of the Instituto Moreira Salles in São Paulo, in the collection of the Roméo Martinez library of the Maison Européenne de la photographie and in the library of contemporary art of the Beaux-Arts de Paris.

Contretemps is a frenetic visual experience of a South American artist arriving in Paris only to see it shut down by COVID-19, left to process his anxiety while exploring the traces of the city still left open. His work exudes energy and feels like a restless, romantic idealist trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. The book is a fast-paced visual journey with each page jam-packed with a collage of elements – classic street photography of Paris, sketchbook pages, barcodes, pictures yanked from the internet, self-portraits, artworks gleaned from the city’s museums and galleries, and even pictures from back home. The immediacy, the urgency of now remains clear, as Silveria’s work reads like a diary, a confessional, but also full of incredible confidence and charisma.”

Brian Arnold for C4 Journal

With the book of the same name by James Joyce in mind, in this series the artist begins a process of folding a portrait of himself as a teenager. The collages are ephemeral, made directly on the surface of the scanner screen and what remains are digital copies of each fold in the image.

These compositions present two narratives: one fragmented, where shards of images reveal and at the same time confuse what is actually happening, and the other linear, assembled from frames of a video recorded in the city streets. These two narrative movements turn this series into a walk, a journey where each step awakens and brings to light a fraction of time, in a movement against time. This series develops a confrontation of movements captured in everyday life and which are the result of a chaotic experience, a reflection of a world about to close down, to enter a movement of reclusion.

Le temps retrouvé (referring to the book that closes Proust’s In Search of Lost Time series) is a collection of photographs of details of paintings captured during the residency during various visits to museums and art galleries. The images were printed and then installed as a mural in the studio, thus creating a single image, which can always be assembled in different ways.

Redux/Recollages is a series of collages made with leftover images and print proofs from the book Contretemps published in 2021. These collages were developed throughout the process of editing the book and were condensed into a zine for the occasion of the release of the film Contretemps or attempts to sell out a place in Paris (2023).

This small publication presents the texts of the subtitles for the film Contretemps or Attempts to exhaust a place in Paris (2023). The film’s subtitles are a collage of excerpts from authors such as Georges Perec, Walter Benjamin, Georges Didi-Huberman, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, Gilles Deleuze, Marcel Proust, Pierre Reverdy and others.

Contretemps or attempts to exhaust a place in Paris (2023). Inspired by the book written by Georges Perec, this experimental film-diary was assembled as a walk, a train ride, a compilation of observations and references of the process developed during the residency, which originated the book Contretemps. This film was screened for the first time at the 14th Strangloscope / International Exhibition of Audio, Video, Film and Experimental Performance, which took place in October 2023. 50m40s, 1920x1080px, HD video, sound, color.

Jeu de barrières (projet pour les multiples). Based on a collection of photographs of barriers taken around the city over the three months of the residency, this artist’s edition proposal was developed using two vinyl record covers. 30x30xm, offset paper prints glued onto vinyl record sleeves.

“One eye on the fish, the other on the cat” means taking care of banal and ordinary tasks while at the same time remaining vigilant and prepared for any unexpected event, here this expression is adapted to the duality of the images and events that are part of the Contretemps project. 18m54s, color, sound.

On January 17, 2020, trains were paralyzed due to a general strike in Paris. This series takes advantage of a collection of transport tickets to create interruptions in found images gathered over the days.

This walk was recorded on the morning of March 9, 2020, as one of the actions proposed by the Contretemps project, based on the concept that “walking is an act of seeing, is an act of reading” the city. The images are accompanied by excerpts from Walter Benjamin’s book One-Way Street. 13m10s, color, sound.