Buena Vista 504 is a portrait both of my maternal grandmother in Caracas and of the large house she has lived in after having immigrated from Portugal in the mid 50’s. There, alone with her maid, visited occasionally by her adult children and her grandchildren, she maintains a quiet routine in this big, carefully ordered space, separated by a high wall from the dangerous neighborhood that surrounds it. In the back, there is a greenhouse with plants she tends and a courtyard where she has recently started raising chickens. A matriarch with a strong personality, she is content to stay home in her domestic solitude.
This series of photographs are a record of all that this house embodies and what it signifies from the past. The work is not only about spaces and things. Materiality is just the form that encloses the deepest moments, experiences, and memories of that house and the people who used to live there. A big family, four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren. A big house. A place that used to be full of people. Now it is a lot of furniture and one soul continuing with her life there.
Photography serves as a tool to communicate the feeling and atmosphere of places where life has been lived. Immersed in the isolation that fill the silent deserted rooms of the house, I started thinking about how one day this place would become inhabited only by intangible memories. The pictures describe the texture of the space and the experience of being somewhere where objects carry so much importance as beholders of memories. The images again combine, the portrayal of places where time has stood still and individual experience has become part of collective family stories. The house is a refuge from a society in turmoil and a family that has grown up and moved on.
Paula Abreu Pita was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1984. She began her photography studies at Roberto Mata Taller de fotografía, and painting at Taller de Arte Elías Serpa in 2006. In 2009 she earned a Masters degree in Advertising and Fashion Photography in Madrid at the Escuela de Artes y Espectáculos Tai. She had her first solo show “Peças da Madeira” in July 2010 and in 2011 her second show “Entre Águas de Portugal” in Caracas. In 2013 she earned her Master’s in Fine Arts at Pratt Institute, where she had her first solo show in NY, “Buena Vista 504.”
Abreu Pita has exhibited in New York City at Photoville 2014, First Street Gallery, Rush Arts Gallery, and The Greenpoint Gallery; in France her work was included at the “Exposure Awards” 2015, Louvre; in London she was part of the “Renaissance Photography Prize,” Getty Images Gallery; in Moscow her series “Hotel Monte Rosa” got Honorable Mention at the “Mifa Foto Awards”, Fotoloft Gallery; in Portugal she was a finalist at the Ei Awards 2015.
Paula currently teaches photography at PhotoUno Photography School in Manhattan and she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.