Swallowing rocks was performed in the mountains of Serra da Estrella in the northern part of Portugal. As a child, the artist had spend most of the summer holidays in those mountains, picking up the habit of lying down on the large boulders late in the rapidly cooling afternoon to feel the heat of the sun still radiating from them. Wondering how it would feel to be able to eat the rocks and feel the warmth of the sun inside. Revisiting this memory and the familiar landscape, the artist used a large piece of approximately five by two meters of white imitation leather to one by one cover eighty large boulders and would then proceed to take pictures of them. The pictures were taken at a relatively close angle, omitting the context and showing only a part of the covered boulders, thereby creating difficult to interpret, ambiguous, almost abstract images. The images were not meant to document the performance, but rather to be an extension of it: an extension that brings a new artistic reality for the viewer to explore and to relate to.
While working on Swallowing rocks the artist was researching cultural cannibalism. The work is strongly influenced by contemporary Brazilian artists that had the tendency to absorb influences from different cultures and to process, appropriate and reuse them. The work is not about covering or wrapping, like Christo for instance, in order to create an abstract image and an aesthetic experience, but about the cannibalistic act of eating your own culture. The leather can very literally be interpreted as a stomach; the mountain swallowed in its entirety. The artist chose white leather to cover the boulders because in her opinion the colour white is strongly connected to Portuguese culture, and not necessarily in a positive way. White covers everything, all taboos and is in the artist’s own words ‘a wonderful colour to ignore’.
Slides projections and leather 1.20m x 0.80m Selection from 80 slides