entry: General Conditions

Other Fictions Museum Collection

Portuguese Art from 1850 to present day

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Alberto Carneiro, Alexandre Estrela, Alfredo Andrade, Almada Negreiros, Ana Hatherly, Ângela Ferreira, António Pedro, António Sena, Fernando Azevedo, Fernando Lanhas, Fernando Lemos, Helena Almeida, Joaquim Rodrigo, João Maria Gusmão e Pedro Paiva, Joaquim Rodrigo, João Pedro Vale, João Tabarra, João Vieira, Jorge Oliveira, Jorge Pinheiro, Jorge Vieira, José Escada, José Malhoa, José Pedro Croft, Julião Sarmento, Júlia Ventura, Lourdes Castro, Manuel Botelho, Marcelino Vespeira, Mário Eloy, Miguel Palma, Paula Rego, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Pires Vieira


Pedro Lapa



While a site determines merely a physical or geographical location, a place implies more than that. Thus, categories constitutive of place are: an identity, an order of relations, and a specific history. The relationship between a work of art and a place is one in which these categories are made subjective and displaced to unimagined shores, performing altertions on the stability of the work and its habitus within a community. Where identity once constituted itself as a given, other identifications come to dislodge this reality. Thus, the stabilized order of relations within the system of constraints and powers operating in a given culture may be subverted, critically exposing that which it represses. The very history of the place may itself be the object of other forms of intelligibility that obscure the direction of its course.


With the demise of the myth the transparency of language instituted by modernity and the understanding of the latter as a motivated structure of signs, many artists became interested in the fact that a sign, or language in general, might signify various things simultaneously. In the final analysis, more than the impossibility of determining meaning, what the works of these artists articulate is an interplay of meanings, unfolding in a process that both produces and dissolves them in such a way as to discard the very notion of unilateral meaning. The binaries operating in many of the works in this room –  real/virtual, nature/culture, letter/form, identity/pattern, object/art, organic/vegetal presence/absence – effect ruptures that in turn produce other ruptures as part of a process of engendering meaning. Whether one considers one aspect or another, this demands reconsideration: construction and deconstruction. Reversibility therefore becomes the interstitial element of the work of art, constantly alluding to meaning as both production and as an intelligible fiction.


In opposition to the trend towards the sublimation and spiritualization of the art work, debasement describes an inverse movement: full materiality, turning against idealism, has progressively asserted itself from the outset of modernity to the present day. During the nineteenth century, this attitude consisted in a demystification of spiritual values submitted to an order, or it uncovered in the truth of Realism the first signs of a still much-idealised materiality. But it was in the post-War period of the twentieth century, within the specific context of surrealism, that an inflection on form and its materiality began to be explored on the basis of a desiring dimension, which was gradually freed from the formal or constitutive repression of a symbolic order. However, this task of erasing the vestiges of idealism in material-based work was to take greater effect in the artistic practices at the turn of the millennium, despite a secular puritanism in Portuguese art. The idealist memory of pure visuality, of allegory, or of an order of exchange might then be submitted to a degradation performed by the declassification of these values in the course of their application, or might literally be inverted in intentional processes that in themselves oppose the traditional notion of artistic creation as spiritualized.


If common facts can be organized according to their causes and effects into a chronological and narrative order, the event throws this idea of the linearity of history into crisis, for it presupposes surprise, the unpredictable. Its exposure and what happens when breaking with the past, cannot be explained by history. Thus the time of the event is insinuated in historical time.

If the event is something unique that occurs to a subject and in the world, it itself is separated from these instances as absolute determinations of meaning. What these works propose, then, is the challenge of bringing the event into the vicinity of will, of appropriating it and making it produce in itself its impersonal manifestation. Meaning can thus unfold in the multiple and in  the process of becoming as affirmation and will, and not merely as sublimation


Programme Filho Único

Concert: Sightings e Jooklo Duo
28th June | 10pm | 8€

Concert: David Grubbs and
Chumbo (António Contador + Calhau!)
5th July | 10pm | 8€