André França
Houses and Time

The photographs in this series were made in my hometown, Canavieiras (state of Bahia), in 2004. For several decades during the 20th century Canavieiras was a major producer of cocoa, which kept the town’s culture and economy alive. However, in the mid-1980s the crop began to decline due to a biological blight. This had a major effect on the local economy and resulted in changes to the urban landscape, as evidenced by the deterioration of several houses, many of which were put up for sale, while others were apparently abandoned. Although this did not happen all over the town, the phenomenon’s effects were sufficiently widespread that the atmosphere changed and the town began to show signs of stagnation. In this context, we can observe the unusual acceleration of the effects of the passage of time on the things that are near and dear to us. As such, this series ponders on this phenomenon, particularly on certain houses, their facades and sometimes, their interiors. Photographed 20 years after I left the town (for further studies in Salvador), this series is a study on disintegration, transformation and dissolution, and brings up my childhood memories and experiences in contrast to the outcomes of reality.

- André França


“Using a term made famous by Barthes, I would say that the punctum in these photographs lies in their peculiar use of the human figure. This statement may sound a bit odd - after all, obviously no one is portrayed in these pictures. They all document empty spaces, old houses, abandoned places. But it is also obvious that right there, where there is no one to be seen, there has been someone: someone walked through a door, exhausted after a working day; someone leaned over a window, casually observing passers-by; someone sat on a couch and waited anxiously into the night. He who smiled, he who feared, she who desired, she who felt warm, they who celebrated, those who lied and those who kept secrets - they are all here, in these photographs, displaying what will be left of us in the future: a few erratic traces, semi-legible words in a chaotic palimpsest, and sketches of incomplete narratives.”

- Antonio Marcos Pereira, Literary critic and Professor, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil.

[See the photographs]