It’s an astounding glance that rests on each movement of Francisco Camacho. Focused on an inner deepness, it appears very small on the surface, almost in a voice of whispered skin that suspends everything that happens around it. He is body-interpreter, of himself and of others and/or in an unstable exchange between himself and others – and the others are so many, of the ones he met, of the accomplices he still keeps close to him, of those investigated in the pages of books, in history with a capital H, in the legends, in the cinema and also of those he invented as abysmal creatures of fabled worlds, but always whispering the real… In the weight that carries each movement, it seems that he forgets himself, creating an excess of senses which is the resonance of an interiority made flesh. Only time explains that thickness of the gesture which was already visible in his tender years, but which now gains a vibration that resonates farther and deeper …

Pierced by the poetry aroused by the images he constructs, we quote Herbert Helder and his “Last Place”, whose sentence gives title to this text. It is not the absolute last place I recall in my memory crossed by the many identities Camacho has aroused for himself, but a place repeatedly lived as the last, in an ever-uneven sigh, that deflates from emotion in the powerful fragility of the dance that is life. He does, in that growing inward always and still always beginning, ever and still always digging, carry that tone of praise that allows us to affirm, with an act of profane faith, “in so many years I do not ignore how everything matures / on this side of now “[still with Herbert Helder].

There is an intensified “side of the now” that has always been present in Francisco Camacho. Always and still always in resonance to the deep and out of himself. A now that was done intersected by others and that is important to transport to a present day with its due founding burden: it is never too much to recall the original line-up that was part of Meg Stuart’s “Disfigure Study” (1991) with Carlota Lagido, that obscures from a luminous grotesque the contemporary bodies previous to the banalization of the different body, ripping in scene an out of focus in permanent transit that the painting, photography, film and literature have long experimented. It remained the complicity that lasts still today – with Meg Stuart, and a celebrated and moving reunion with “BLESSED” (2007); a greater brotherhood with Carlota Lagido, so often reaffirmed in formulations of various collaborations, both in the creations in which Carlota appeared as the his talismanic dancer and in Carlota’s summoning for costume design, as in Carlota Lagido’s own creations, reaffirming an unshakeable proximity, to mention only a few (Sílvia Real, Lucia Sigalho, Citemor festival …) …

In those 90’s of the last century, silhouettes of characters were glimpsed that, evocative of other stories – like the one of Portugal that was confounded with fictional, invented by itself but also stolen from the cinema, literature or music, for example -, affirmed the difference in an artistic identity that refused to be fixed in a stable model. We are in those very first years of “Bimarginário” (1990), created in partnership with Mónica Lapa (whose importance for this history is not forgotten and who the solo dance by Sílvia Real was dedicated to, “Lost Ride” 2011) and soon after “The King in Exile” (1991), “Our Lady of Flowers” (1993). These were the years when some creators were known as “the foreigners,” but this detail remains for another occasion. As well as the relationship with the facilities of the Volunteer Firefighters of Lisbon, from where its structure Eira (2013) left to install itself in the Theatre of the Voice (of the Voz do Operário), transporting these memories of the place that stripped itself of art traces every time a firefighter passed away and it was important to wake over a corpse.

In times of conceptualism, Camacho did his research of concepts by questioning the artistic form through the exercise of freedom that summons other arts. Still, creating poetics that undermined the linear notion of storytelling but not nullifying it at all. Camacho is free in this thinking, he imagines a “portugueseness” not fettered by the need to sell an identity for touristic consumption, but loose in the exercise of the imagination conceived with music, scenic props, pop-rock and sometimes underground costumes. It was a time of “With death you deceive me” (1994), “First name: Le” (1994), “Dom Saint Sebastião” (1996), “Gust” (1997), “My Name is Wilde … Oscar Wilde “(2001) … This is not only a path of memories for a century past, it is constructed of visions of fleeting images of other possibilities -” im- “, for example, by Francisco Camacho and Vera Mota (2009), undertakes an entrance under the skin, which is the skin of the scenic space but also an inquirer of the organic form that escapes already to the conception of the human figure and proposes other drawings of the physical being.

There is an ethic that remains and sustains the touching fragile gesture that transpires in the identity of the Cumplicidades Festival, in the community of artists that remain close to Eira, and in the dance that he still makes today, as an interpreter, available for new ‘complicities’ without erasing those long-standing ones. That’s where we’ve seen him most recently in works of the Uterus, such as “Swamp” (2015) or “Duel” (2017), or in “Project Spies” by Filipa Francisco, of which he is co-author and interpreter next to Sílvia Real and Miguel Pereira, where part of this story is revisited in the memory and in the body. An ethic that is both fragile and muscular, fluid and neurological, that resurfaces in the recreations of timeless solos he continues to visit today but also in giving himself to others. In any of these occasions, there is this side of the present moment and the always private dance – remembering another emblematic creation, those “Private Dances” created for the exceptional context of the “Megastore” in 2000, by Lucia Sigalho and Armando Valente, in the Iron Warehouse in Lisbon – that moves when it transpires through the hands and the face detached from the outside a disturbance that is of vital death, of the candour of the inner landscapes that forces to hold ones breath one who rests the glance on a sensibility that is only possible because time passed and thus, bursts into recollection, and again the astoundment: Francisco Camacho when he dances, he dances inside the flesh, terribly.

Cláudia Galhós

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