Poster Faces, Julião Sarmento

Poster with a close-up photo of two women kissing taken from the Film Faces (1976), by Julião Sarmento

Poster Faces, Julião Sarmento

Poster with a close-up photo of two women kissing taken from the Film Faces (1976), by Julião Sarmento


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Julião Sarmento's poster represents one of the episodes of his film Faces, 1976.

The film Faces, 1976, is a kind of triptych. Two heads of hair, a blonde and a brunette, rub against each other at the bottom of the screen. This is followed by a close-up photo of two women kissing. The camera focuses on their mouths and tongues — licking, sucking and moving between and around each other.

At first glance it might seem erotic. But as time passes, and the kiss goes on and on, the tongues become chunks of wet flesh, the movements less sensual, or erotic, and more grotesque, becoming rudimentary in the close-up abstraction.

Eventually, although beautifully filmed, it becomes almost dull to watch. The final section depicts the two women sitting, naked but with heavily made-up faces, one leaning their heads on the other's shoulder—a tender epilogue to the intensity of their performance.

This film was created in Portugal right after the country came to the end of a 41-year dictatorship — decades in which expressions of art, sex, religion and politics were censored and banned. Read through this lens, the film has much broader connotations of freedom, privacy and complicity.

The kiss has, of course, been the subject of numerous studies by artists, from Auguste Rodin and Gustav Klimt, to recent contemporary performances by Tino Sehgal.

However, when viewing Faces through the lens of the Internet revolution — the pervasive intimacy of her kiss, and the fact that it is performed by two women (especially when considered in the context of works that directly explore queer and lesbian identity) it reads as a historical artifact, now that the digital world is filled with videos of women performing with other women for men.

Moreover, this serves to highlight what Sarmento confronts: the desire — and all the cultural and social influences that surround it — of the spectator.

Julião Sarmento is a Portuguese artist / painter who studied architecture at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts between 1967 and 1974. Author of a multifaceted work, Julião Sarmento started his activity in the 1970s, fitting in with the practices most advanced artistic artists of that period. He asserted himself as one of the Portuguese plastic artists with the greatest national and international projection in the following decade, exhibiting his works in prestigious galleries and museums. 


Data sheet

50 x 70 cm
Photography paper
Julião Sarmento

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