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Diastole – Southbank Centre – 26 July – 10 August

by Rio Occupation London on July 26, 2012

Andrea Capella on location as she creates her panorama of London

Andrea Capella is a woman in love.  When she describes the object of her affection, her face lights up and she radiates an air of swoony joy as she describes how she has been completely captivated by London.

“It’s my first time. Yes I am completely passionate about it – I cannot hide it.”

Visitors to the Southbank today will be able to see the expression of Andrea's love.  Two vast photographic banners of Rio and London will be exhibited on the outside of the Southbank Centre for 2 weeks until 10 August.  

Taken between sunrise and nightfall, Andrea has created photographic representations of a day in the life of the shifting urban landscapes.  Her aim was to capture the soul of a city through its image, between people, space and light.

Using a unique technique of photographic exposure that takes 12 hours, Andrea has created 2m tall banners of Ipanema beach and our own Southbank, looking east to west from the Tate Modern and taking in St Paul’s.

The banners offer two visions of cities thousands of miles apart that are so different, but linked in so many ways.  Andrea’s iconic images of two cities she loves will cheer the hearts of visitors to the Southbank.

“To explain to the man in the street, what my work is about is difficult. I have many interests but two of them have endured: I’m fascinated by photography and urban life.  I’m always interested in how people deal with a city. How they occupy, how they rest, how they do and see things around” 

“Photography is so related to time and I relate to scale and space because I studied architecture. Sometimes we can continually pass through the same landscapes and really like them but never really pay attention.  Most people don’t have the time to spend a day just looking.  This idea of spending time just watching could look a bit nostalgic, but to me these images are more related to a pace of meditation: during a day, seeing things that you really love and observe how people in the landscape change the way the horizon is filled.”

Andrea arrived in London three weeks ago as part of the Rio Occupation London project.  30 artists have made South London’s Battersea Arts Centre their home for the month.  Andrea is enthusiastic about the experience.

“Living at Battersea Arts Centre – I’m a very flexible person, I have almost no problem with it.  What’s great is every morning you can meet your friends, pull together, to discuss your work.  It is a big place so you can still have some privacy.”

“What is really nice is that there are lots of people coming and going, there are children. The architecture of the place is amazing and it’s a real community.  You can really feel this when you’re living there. “

All of the artists from Rio were selected to take part in the Occupation because of their interest in working together.

“The Occupation Artists are really collaborative – it’s not about doing your own work, it’s about stretching yourself and the artistic possibilities, to open new horizons for us all.  I’ve been performing – I’ve never performed in my life before. We are open, we are here and we are trying to give our all to make this work.

Another objective of the project is to offer people a different perspective of Rio.  "It’s not about changing the perception of our city but we are trying to offer more.  We are also collaborating with English people and we are sharing.  There are many possibilities and Londoners and Cariocas have many things in common." 

One of the key values we share is a love of visual art. We are trying to open eyes.  To look at a landscape for 14 hours is a kind of meditation. There are many possible layers in Diastole.“ 

The working conditions have, of course been very different.  “Here there are 15 hours of sun – in Rio there were 10.  But here we were in front of the Globe Theatre and it began raining at 3pm.  I had waterproofs and an umbrella but by 8pm I couldn’t stand the rain anymore. I was freezing.”

The Occupation project has a long tail leading up to 2016 when Rio will host the Olympic Games.  The work being created now is sowing the seed for a huge body of work that will create a remarkable legacy of collaboration between two great cities.

Asked if her work is a gift to the people of London, Andrea becomes uncomfortable.  “That sounds arrogant.  It’s not about giving.  My work, the Occupation as a whole, it’s not about giving – it’s about sharing.”

You will be able to share Andrea’s vision of London and Rio for 2 weeks from 26 July 2012 at the SouthBank Centre. 

To see more of the works created by Andrea and her fellow collaborators, come to the Festival Finale on 1,2 & 3 August at the V22 Biscuit Factory.

Andrea has been collaborating with British artist Gary Stewart.  Diastole and Andrea’s Finale Festival exhibition are being produced with Elizabeth Lynch.

Andrea Capella: "The Occupation is about sharing.  It's about collaboration."

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