Pop-up Exhibition and Book Launch 'Back and Forth' by Mariana Rocha

On the 17th of June, starting at 6 pm, don't miss the book launch and opening of the pop-up exhibition "Back and Forth", by photographer Mariana Rocha at a ilha gallery space.

This edition of the book is the result of the 1st XYZ Books Residency Cycle, and had the contribution, as guest editor, from Sharon Young and design by Dayana Lucas.

The residency, exhibition and book were made possible thanks to the Institutional Partners: República Portuguesa and DGArtes.


Presale with a special discount available only until the launch day. Available online here.

Back and Forth

"When I close my eyes, I feel the same love/hate between us that was there at the beginning. I wanted to be seen, but now as an adult what I needed was to leave. It all starts in the womb. In my first cocoon, something must have happened." (Mariana Rocha)


Mariana Rocha's Back and Forth portrays the threshold between love and hate. Family ties, new discoveries, griefs, little burdens and letting go occupy the territory of this not to be underestimated little book. A child's chalk drawing of a house - the archetypal home - rendered in pastels shatter the illusion of an independent woman that was beginning to build in these pages. Childhood longings and familial romanticised ideals are hard to shake off. What do we do when reality hits? Glimmers and drapery, shadow and tone sit awkwardly next to fierce self portraits and crumpled cars in a disorienting array of 'becoming' that is far removed from the traditional coming of age story. This is not a book about a particular linear progress, if we are honest about it whose life ever is? This is a punch in the face to the nuclear family icon. The house is falling on its side, the walls are hollow and the lines don't even match up. It's ramshackle, it's impossible to live with, but it's interesting. As Tolstoy insightfully put it "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." (Anna Karenina, 1877)


Sharon Young, 2022

Mariana Rocha

Mariana Rocha b.1994, Porto. Graduated in Contemporary Photography at Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon in 2019, she has been exhibiting regularly since 2015. As Pedras Não Sentem Cheiro (2018) at Senhora Presidenta gallery and the group show Depois do Estouro (2019) in Porto’s Municipal gallery are highlights in her exhibitions and performances.
The artist has self-published several publications and artist books, namely Chat Noir (2015) and I/II/III (2016). The series Chora Rocha Pedra Perda, was featured in the first number of Dose magazine (2018).
Her work (photographic, performative or written) is deeply instinctive, self-biographical and cathartic. Lives and works in Sintra.