.2015_17_ / digital prints on Photo Rag paper Do You Remember 1979? / 80 x 60cm_77 x 60 cm_ 80 x 60cm

‘I saw the Cloud, though I did not foresee the Storm’

Daniel Defoe

In 1722 Daniel Defoe published A Journal of the Plague Year, a fictional account of the experiences of a man who lived through the great plague that besieged London in 1665. The novel's seing shows a desolate, deserted and devastated environment; an empty city where imaginary characters have nothing left but to be absolutely disenchanted with the world.

Derzu Campos inhabits the landscape narrated by Dafoe to bring it to the present time, or more precisely, to show its permanent state. His panoramas, which also oscillate between the fictitious and the plausible, recreate an ominous and timeless environment, where there is a latent danger that has already happened or is about to happen. But beyond apocalyptic views, Campos' questioning points to our historical processes: specifically to the relationship between the course of history and the speculation of the future. The cloud that announces the unpredictable storm is that of the specters of the past and of the lost futures. It is memory as well as prediction. His cities eagerly interrogate destiny and confront us with the broken promises of our once utopian landscapes.

However, Albert Camus would tell us that the plague has something else to teach us: ‘All that man can win at the game of the plague and life is knowledge and memory.’¹ Campos' series of photographs and videos also point to historical amnesia and false memories measured by fictitious and ideological axiomatic constructions that fill in the gaps in history by distorting them and, instead, bets to free them from their seemingly immutable anchor by inventing them, recreating and resignifying them. Thus, the works become a repository open to meaning: silent witnesses to a story yet to be written.

The Cloud and the Tempest is a reminder of the continuity of history, waiting for it to be transfigured by both the past and the future; this of course, if the weather allows it.

-Written by Helena Lugo Originally published on the exhibition handout for the solo show ‘La Nube y la Tempestad’ at Galería Breve, 2018

1 Camus, A. La peste, Ciudad de México: DeBolsillo, 2013 [1947].