Pedro Leão Neto
The Shanghai visual series of Tiago Casanova constitute a personal united vision of a certain light and architecture that inhabits this important Far East city in China. Composed by a set of very plastic and poetic images, which escape traditional perspective representation, they convey Shanghai’s architecture and meaning through the abstract light, form, ambience and imagination of Tiago’s lens. At the same time, these images cause a strange and strong impression on us, and I suspect this has to do with the tension that exists between what we see and what we can imagine in them. The result is recognizing on those nonrepresentational images simultaneously known and unknown patterns and meanings. In fact, the city is framed within an abstract and poetic view, disturbing the way we normally see architecture and, in this sense, it tries to go beyond “representation”.
We can say that Tiago explores Shanghai at night using photography as an instrument of representation liberated from the need or dependence of depicting the real. An instrument that renders in a poetic way the perception of space and light and that as a result captures the ambience of the city in a fresh and complex way.
If photography captures only the surface of things, as Thomas Struth states, then Tiago tries with this exercise to reveal something more than the appearance of Shanghai and its iconic buildings. With these plastic and poetic photographs, where light and focus have been manipulated in purpose, a new world of representation is created that somehow borders the universe of painting, expressing the perception and iconographic qualities of Shanghai buildings and light in a way that surprises and disturbs.
In fact, the work of Tiago has bravely detached itself from the traditional photographic architectural representation, where linear perspective and time plays an important role, and has instead plunged into the realm of the field of colors and spatial deconstruction. While Euclidean perspective is not taken on board, we can still perceive the city and feel the symbolic and colorful characteristics of Shanghai´s architecture.