Filipa César

Porto, 1975

The work of Filipa César is characterized by an inquiry into human behavior, using photography, video art and installation in a very personal cinematographic language. Her moving image work parts from documentary film, around which several fictional layers are developed. A similar tension to the one arising from this in-betweenness (reality and fiction) is visible in the numerous oppositions that inhabit César’s work. Stillness and motion, private and public, inside and outside, present and past (memory), are dualities that fruitfully (re)combine in her pieces. The artist is also interested in investigating the relation and influence mechanisms between people’s conducts and the spaces in which those conducts unfold. She presently works and lives in Berlin.

Born in Porto in 1975, Filipa César studied Fine Arts in Porto and Lisbon, where she finished a graduate degree in Painting in 1999. Moving to Munich, she worked as an intern at a film post-production and video manipulation company (ArriDigital Film). There she further developed a personal kind of handling and molding the moving image that became characteristic of her work. In 2002 she was awarded a grant by the organization Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes, staying at the Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral in Bad Ems, Germany. There she produced Monologues (2002), expanding a line of inquiry she had been pursuing in work such as Waiting Citizens II (1999) or Letters (2000).


In 2004 César graduates in the Art in Context MA at the Berlin University of the Arts, with a Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Scholarship. Berlin Zoo (2001-2003), an intricate analysis of “moments of absence” in the life of randomly selected inhabitants of Berlin, was completed around this period, and reflects the artist’s growing interest in the gaze.


Filipa César’s most recent work demonstrates a firm coherence with past analysis yet seems to be interested in expanding such questionings with a more direct political stance. From a kind of abstract setting that explores universal and yet subtly political situations, César appears to be gradually attracted to specific socio-political situations. Memograma (2010), Porto 1975 (2010) or Le Passeur (2008) are examples of this new perspective.


Filipa César is represented by galleries in Lisbon (Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art), Madrid (Distrito Cu4tro) and Zurich (Mai 36 Galerie). She has exhibited at the Solar
Cinematic Art Gallery (Vila do Conde, Portugal), Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art and the Ellipse Foundation (Lisbon), among others. In 2010 Filipa César was awarded the BES Photo prize and took part in the 12th Biennale of Architecture, Venice, the 29th São Paulo Biennial and Manifesta 8, in Cartagena, Spain.





January 2011



Updated on 10 march 2016

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