Paul Cupido: Éphémère (signed)
Wherever his worldwide photographic explorations take him, Paul Cupido brings to bear his childhood experience of growing up on an island on his images and the way he prefers to talk about them. The heartbeat of life on the island is constituted by the rhythm of the seasons, the moon, and the movement of the tides. The beauty of such strong environmental bonds, paired with a sense of the fragility of life, gave shape to Paul’s later engagement with photography and imagemaking.
When I first met Paul Cupido in 2017, he was just about to graduate from the Fotoacademie in Amsterdam, with a consummate photobook titled Searching for Mu that he self-published to great acclaim shortly thereafter. The electrifying images and equally hallucinating edit mirrored the new journey Cupido had embarked upon, a way of traveling, meaning not only a physical exploration of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, but above all a spiritual journey to the inner self. Later travels brought him to more tropical zones, to the southernmost Japanese islands and to the Brazilian Amazon.
Whereas the principle of Mu—a key term in Eastern philosophy that is difficult to translate, but pertaining to the letting go of ego, to not having, to a void that holds endless potential—is still important, in recent series the emphasis has shifted to éphémère. Borrowing this notion from the artist Charlotte Davies and her immersive, interactive visual/aural artwork of the same name (1998), Cupido stresses the fleetingness of existence in the process of genesis, metamorphosis and disappearance, as well as focuses on the symbolic correspondences between earth and body.
The ephemeral is also expressed through the moonlit landscapes and the dusk, that transitional zone in between the harsh light of day and the depths of the night. Coincidentally, ‘ephemerae’ refers to temporary printed matter. Cupido’s well-crafted prints, however, promise anything but short-livedness, yet invite us to meditate on the fragility of life, the interconnectedness of humans and non-humans, and the silence that is at the heart of every word and image.
Taco Hidde Bakker
Final copies of the first edition.
Publisher: Edition Bildhalle, 2019
Author: Text by Taco Hidde Bakker
Photographer: Paul Cupido
Graphic Design: Andreas Cavegn, identica.ch
Format: Hardback clothbound, printed on different paper stock
Size: 23 x 34.5 cm, 88 pages