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Ilhéstico, 30 years of Porta 33 | Part II

Ilhéstico celebrates the 30th anniversary of Porta 33 in Madeira, curated by Miguel von Hafe Pérez. It brings together 45 young artists of Madeiran origin, in an exhibition that establishes a dialogue with Funchal. All the artists are related to Porta 33, which is not surprising given its important role in Madeira over the last 30 years.

It’s an invitation to artists, most of whom live outside the island, to look at the city and intervene in its architecture and in its spatial and affective memory. With this, new readings emerge, moving this project away from the scope of a typical exhibition route.

Ilhéstico encompasses different artistic undertakings. Of rupture, of continuity, with new narratives or searching for less-known stories, questioning traditions or giving them a new life. This is the case of Ricardo Barbeito with Agora Tu, Agora És Tu at Casa Museu Frederico de Freitas. Ricardo is Frederico de Freitas’ great nephew and asked his aunt to tell him family stories. These served as the basis for the birth of a narrative in the exhibition route of the house-museum, through objects and photographs associated with the stories. This intervention is subtle, as Barbeito considers that “the important thing, in a dialogue with a museum, is not to overwhelm”. Barbeito adds small readings to the usual exhibition route, without making us feel startled. At the same time, his photographs make the museum familiar, bringing it closer to a house. All the spaces welcome a memory cherished and reinterpreted by the artist.

Hélder Folgado, Duarte Ferreira and João Almeida in Atmosferas Líticas (2019) also delve into memory. This installation, at Fortaleza de S. João Baptista do Pico, is inspired by vernacular architecture, particularly the massive cisterns built on the island to store water for agricultural purposes. There is a kind of triptych, which includes a sculpture with water, reflecting the vaulted ceiling of the fortress (to a lesser extent, it recalls the vaults of these giant tanks). Visitors lean over the water like daffodils, as they listen to the water droplets, and a video shows the textures of the cistern walls. Atmospheres Líticas is a sensitive memorial work, something allowed by the fortress’s layout itself.

Dayana Lucas presents two works. Subtle and properly framed, we run the risk of not catching them. Por um fio is the intervention on the façade of the Porfírio Marques, Lda. building, more specifically on its balcony. Dayana closed it, taking advantage of the façade’s vegetal elements. The result is so good that we think it has always been like that. At the renowned Esperança bookshop, with an almost labyrinthine layout, Dayana shows a book that tears, alluding to Lucio Fontana, and a stained glass that should exist, but does not.

Bruce Paulino da Silva is also subtle. In Stoneheld, he filled the showcases of Café Estoril with objects created based on the overlap between plaster and pigment. These are constructive memories, whose origin could be an archaeological excavation.

Duarte Encarnação is a political artist. A sculptor and professor at the University of Madeira, his works have a critical component. At the Henrique and Francisco Franco Museum, he questions the artist’s role and his relationship with society, contemporaneity and political power in the several works exhibited.

Vítor Magalhães was the first trainee of Porta 33 and Estruturas provisórias (indícios, anotações e materiais) (2019) incorporates this chronological and artistic maturity. His installation should have been exhibited at the Natural History Museum, but ended up at Cowork Funchal. Vítor says that “none of this is finished” and considers that the pieces embedded the venue change. His work is conceptual. He establishes epistemological relations with the objects of the Cowork Library, which did not escape his endeavours. Vítor handled the books to include references in common with his works. There are studies presented alongside the final works, including the procedural method in the exhibition. With references to Joseph Beuys or Jacques Lacan, it’s essential in the process of apprehending the works.

Miguel Ângelo Martins presents at Espaço 116 an installation on the painting processes. A low plinth presents several brushes (with different sizes and thicknesses), while we listen to a monotone voice pronouncing paint in its different verb tenses. On the wall, we find prints in risograph, which replicate different scratch thicknesses, as if they had been created by brushes. It’s the return to the essence of painting, of drawing – the scratch. At the same time, it refers to mechanical processes, more used by graphics than by painting.

Several works punctuate Funchal’s public or semi-public spaces, in addition to those listed above. The experience of the route is an integral part of this exhibition, which celebrates the anniversary of Porta 33. We believe it will leave a mark on Funchal.

With a career in film production spanning more than 10 years, Bárbara Valentina has worked as production executive, producing and developing several documentary and fiction films for several production companies including David & Golias, Terratreme and Leopardo Films. She is now working as Head of Development and Production Manager at David & Golias as well as a postproduction coordinator at Walla Collective. She is also teacher at ETIC in the Film and Television Course of HND - Higher National Diploma. She started writing articles for different magazines in 2002. She wrote for Media XXI magazine and in 2003 she began her collaboration with Umbigo magazine. Besides Umbigo she wrote for Time Out Lisboa and is still writing as art critic for ArteCapital. In 2010 she completed a postgraduation in Art History.

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