Julião Sarmento (b. 1948, Lisbon, Portugal) received his MA in painting and architecture from the Lisbon School of Fine Arts in 1974. He is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice spans across a wide range of media. His artwork is included in public collections and galleries worldwide, including: Museu Calousta Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Museu Serralves, Porto; Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France. He has participated in two Documentas in 1982 and 1987, and he represented Portugal at the Venice Biennale in 1997.
The six prints in Sarmento’s Curiosity’s Eye suite depict an imagined view from the Mars Curiosity rover, which landed on the Martian surface in August of 2012. Sarmento focuses on this pivotal moment in the history of human exploration and presents a conceptual view of our first look at a previously uncharted world. The landscapes reflect the physical tumult of the rocky terrain as it changes in hue and texture. Being comprised mostly of rock and sediment, there is also a sense of scarcity and emptiness. Beneath each image there are two labels denoting the Latin names of the “photographed” regions and the dates on which the rover documented them, giving them a certain archival and scientific quality. Sarmento conceives of Curiosity’s photographic lens as an extension of the human eye, peering out into the unknown to extract new truths.