When, in 1994, the National Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu do Chiado reopened to the public, the Collection essentially covered the period between 1850 and 1950. Since then, the Museum’s collection has been updated through acquisitions, donations and loans which allow new groups of work to be created, including works from foremost artists on the Portuguese art scene of the second half of the twentieth century.
This exhibition aims to provide a broad perspective on the Collection, tracing a route which begins with the present day and then travels back over modern and contemporary Portuguese art, until 1850s.
The layout combines the chronological criterion with authorial representativeness, whilst also recognising the architectural space of the Museum itself as a determining element in the construction of the exhibition discourse. Given the inevitability of the visitor walking through the galleries in both directions, the layout aims to explore the reversibility of the chronological reading. By placing emphasis on the last two decades of the twentieth century, spread between the two rooms Sala dos Fornos and Sala Polivalente, the Museum also recognises the unfinished nature of the Collection. The title of the exhibition - One way, two directions - is also evocative of the Museum's dual mission: to enhance the historical dimension of its collection whilst simultaneously accommodating and promoting contemporary artistic practices.
Director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu do Chiado