Teresa Sá uses the abandoned interiors of these buildings as stage sets, carefully framing her shots to include details of the decaying architecture, peeling wallpaper, broken floorboards, and open doorways with shafts of light streaming through. These tight shots are impregnated with tension, generally emanating from a single female figure who transforms the common place setting into a stage on which a drama appears to be unfurling, but never completely unfolds. Her images can be likened structurally to Edward Hopper’s paintings, however this is where the similarities end. Sá’s photographs are gritty, and aesthetically miles apart from the smooth, almost airbrushed quality of Hopper’s paintings.
(…) The postures of her characters simultaneously suggest vulnerability and defiance. The face is usually obscured; either turned away, concealed behind an arm or occasionally cropped from the frame. The underlying narrative of each image depends on the carefully orchestrated body language of Sá’s characters, which reveals the interior and external sense of self in direct conflict. This sense that emotion can no longer be completely repressed or entirely revealed is where the power of these photographs lie, and what ultimately makes them portraits of the psyche rather than strictly figurative images.
Kerryn Greenberg, curator based in London