Carpe Diem, Lisbon
Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon
3 - 18 March 2017
Curators Ana Trincão; Atena Abrahimia; Beatriz Vasconcelos; Catarina Veloso; Daniela Ambrósio; Elena Ndidi Akilo; Eva Zbogo; Gabriela Moura; Gregor Taul; Helena Correia; Ilios Willemars; Inês Sampaio; João Marques da Silva; Mafalda Duarte Barrela; Manon Zeidler; Marina Caresia; Martin Poiret; Orsola Vannocci; Péricles Carvalho
Artists Luísa Jacinto, Miguel Palma, João Biscainho, Teresa Braula Reis, Paula Prates.
As a first year doctoral student of Lisbon Consortium I took part of an elective course for curating led by professor Luisa Santos. Besides extensive reading and lots of discussion, the class finished with an exhibition project where 20 students formed teams to curate 5 artists in 5 different project spaces. I was happy to work with a couple of very nice people on Luísa Jacinto's project at the foyer of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa.
The project 5/5: 5 artists, 5 project rooms puts together the students’ final projects of the first edition of the Curatorship Lab, in the frame of the international MA and PhD programme in Culture Studies of The Lisbon Consortium.
For the past 7 years, The Lisbon Consortium has housed one of the world’s leading graduate programmes (ranked #3 by Eduniversal Worldwide Best Masters Ranking in Arts and Cultural Management) dedicated to the study and advanced training in the multidisciplinary field of Culture Studies as well as the professional integration of students. This collaborative network brings together theory, applied research, cultural programming and management.
Based upon an innovative training model and collaborative effort between academic and cultural institutions, such as the cooperation established with Carpe Diem Arte & Pesquisa in the frame of 5/5: 5 artists, 5 project rooms, the Programme operates through epistemological reciprocity, demonstrating how cultural practices illuminate critical reflection.
The Curatorship Lab, in the frame of this Programme, is poised to account for artistic production and circulation in light of contemporary subjects of inquiry such as globalisation; spatial politics; new institutionalism; social practice; art and conflict; and arts based research. Seen through the lens of curatorial practices, the vectors of such inquiry based approach take on real specificity, aiming for a firm foundation for a series of 5 experimental projects, by 5 contemporary artists – João Biscainho, Luísa Jacinto, Miguel Palma, Paula Prates, and Teresa Braula Reis, in the field.
Emphasising the interrelatedness of practice and discourse, the Curatorship Lab curriculum encourages alternative interpretations of artistic, institutional, and cultural histories. With 5/5: 5 artists, 5 project rooms, which take the shape of solo exhibitions at the Universidade Católica’s campus and at Carpe Diem Arte & Pesquisa, a series of orchestrated parallel programmes and a publication, students and artists aim to generate an engaged investigation into the stakes and claims for curatorial practices.
While believing contemporary art is best grasped in counterpoint with its historical precedents and antecedents, the Curatorship Lab programme recognises the social role of art and its imbrication in other systems such as economy and politics. 5/5: 5 artists, 5 project rooms reflects precisely the charting of various trajectories of art’s conception, creation, distribution, display and mediation, interrogating and theorising the character and role of art in our contemporary times.
The engagement of all students with the artists, the Director and curators at Carpe Diem Arte & Pesquisa, the University’s staff, as well as other curators and researchers has been core to develop an ambitious, scholarly investigation of topics of importance to past and present art, and to contextualise various aspects of curatorial practices in societal terms.
In this context, it is imperative to praise the true commitment, work and dedication of all artists and students in the preparation and installation of all project rooms as well as in putting together a publication and a parallel programme with wonderful speakers, which, together, write a constellation of interconnected ideas providing a sustained platform for dialogues around art and cultural histories and configuring possible future endeavours.
For the catalogue I wrote a short text on Luisa Jacinto's work No one knows:
No one knows
In 1927 a German-French Jewish surrealist poet Iwan Goll published a novel called
in which a hopeless mid-war era man wanders around Europe, leaving behind traces consisting of three words: we don't know. The story's narrator doesn't make it clear what it is that we don't know. Readers may find themselves in a similarly lost position while reading Herman Melville's cryptic novella Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street which has been puzzling critics for its I would prefer not to for more than 150 years. Luísa Jacinto's work No one knows bears a resemblance to these fine examples of human thought, but not so much because of its almost identical slogan, but due to its existential depth and its author's strong belief in poetry.
It is not uncommon that a single poem keeps Jacinto the painter busy for weeks in her studio. Poetry, it has been argued, is foremost rhythm and repetition. Reiteration not only in its formal aspect of rhyme and structure, but in terms of memory and intention. Proclaimed poets possess the language of their colleagues and forerunners. Jacinto is certainly an artist whose work recognizes and values the context she finds herself in.
Hence it was natural that for the exhibition in the foyer of the School of Human Sciences of the Catholic University of Portugal she would produce a new installation which derives from the memory and spirit of the place. Doubtlessly knowledge is the signpost which has lead innumerable people to universities for centuries. Later, many of these students seem to have left the institution with a strong feeling of doubt – calling to mind characters from Goll's and Melville's stories. Then again, a knowledgable doubter never reads a book as if a traffic sign. In fact, a name on a plate is never the object or subject itself, neither is a map a territory, nor a No one knows a no one knows. The artist is inviting us to join – and enjoy – the discussion.