Tudo aquilo de que não nos lembramos
[ All that we do not remember ]

Curatorial text by Suzana Sousa
Regarding the exhibition All that we do not remember, Jahmek Contemporary, July 2022.

The installation All that we do not remember springs from the work Rainy Season, produced by the artist this year, inspired by José Eduardo Agualusa’s 2012 novel of the same name. The paper and ink sculpture Rainy Season explores, in grading shades of royal blue, the feeling of rainwater, or if we think of Agualusa’s work, the tears of time. In All that we do not remember all this is magnified, the rain that washes and cleanses, and the tears that weaken, defeat, and renew the soul.

The artist Iris Buchholz Chocolate has accus-
tomed us in her work to an exercise in memory, an exercise that simultaneously requires us to look back and (re)imagine from the elements we have left. A practice that goes beyond research and data collection and establishes concrete relationships with the traces and remnants of time. In this exhibition this gesture demands a little more, the work itself demands immersion and takes us to its interior, but also to a first memory of ourselves. Those moments at birth when we are deeply connected to something greater that protects us, to a woman, a mother who is until then only imagined, heard, touch-
ed. Those are the dimensions that this work explores, the imagination and the senses, allow-
ing us to interact with it in various ways and flooding us with blue(s).

In a young country like ours, both memory and history are constantly being contested, often rewritten, and sometimes fictionalized. This movement is still alive because there are living protagonists and the remnants are still lived
by all, sometimes kept in albums and boxes that serve as proof against official historiography. But memory is not only everything that we remember; it is also made of the voids and the forgetfulness, of how we fill this forgetfulness. Memory is a space of imagination that lives from the emotions that echo from our lived experiences, the physical capacity to remember and the need to forget in a dialogic relationship that is established between the present and
the attempt to build a future.

This exhibition is challenging because of how much it demands from the viewer, since our whole body interacts with the work. It was also challenging in its making, eliciting the compli-
cations of art production. The artist’s research and design work were followed by a workshop and training in artistic sewing at the Entrepre-
neurship Academy of the Provincial Govern-
ment of Luanda on the capital’s infamous ring road, Via Expressa, using material sponsored
by textile factory Textang. The workshop lasted
4 weeks and trained 10 technicians. The project is the result of a network that creates direct social and economic impact on many people.
It highlights the need for art to assume its role of responsibility in its environment and, on the other hand, to assume itself as an economic agent in a country that denies the relevance of the creative industries, relegating it to a space of entertainment or folklore.

In Iris’s own words: “from the gallery floor emerges a landscape for sitting, camouflaged
in the same strips of fabric. Visitors are invited to sit or lie down, to be together and merge
with the installation, listening to the sound that is rekindled from my 2010 film Traces of loss.
The sound is a composition of (underwater) breathing and wind, referring to the elements of water, air and fire. Breath, and the act of breathing, is a metaphor for the soul: the breath of life, which many cultures believe to be the seat of the life force, and the soul of every human being. As most life forms begin their existence by floating in liquid, the folds of the ribbons can also embody the female genitals, which are the gateway to life for every human being on this planet”.

Translation: Tila Likunzi, curator

“Iris... I ran away so I could cry in a safe space. The installation really moved me. I thank you for creating a space where, more than with words, you allowed me to feel things that are difficult to explain. I was overwhelmed by the thought of how all that we do not remember still has such a strong impact on our selves and leaves traumas so deeply rooted in us. Thank you”. (visitor Luanda, Angola)