Lehmann + Silva

In this month of November a new proposal emerged in the artistic setting of the city of Oporto, a product of the dialogue established between Frederick Lehmann and Mário Ferreira da Silva. Materialized as an exhibition space, with the name Lehmann + Silva, it mirrors the juxtaposition of the collector’s strictness and taste with the passion and great motivation of the art advisor. The latter, still young, already has under his belt a certain professional career at the international level and some experience in artistic production, something that certainly that makes him closer to the artist that the gallery will represent. The space, the plateau of an interesting project, well defined and assertive, also has an early but already relevant acquis, independent from Lehmann’s private collection, with prestigious names like Helena Almeida.

This is how Lehmann + Silva opens its doors, with the necessary confidence to assert itself amid the current and vibrant and hastened artistic growth of Oporto, based on the premise of Mário Silva “work locally, think globally”.

© João Morgado

The gallery is located in Rua Duque da Terceira, in the vicinity of Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto. It is therefore found in an area that has always been travelled by artists and occupied by their ateliers, such is the case of the perennial Ângelo de Sousa. Today, still surrounded by creators, studios and exhibition spaces, some of them quite alternative, Lehmann + Silva is located with the purpose and desire to captivate and, consequently, to echo the creative energy that emanates from the zone. Therefore, it does not present itself with the intent to be a separate entity from other artistic circuits of the city, rather with a desire to dwell in the productive centre of the younger generation of artists.

© João Morgado

The gallery then opened its doors on November 11, with the exhibition How to do things curated by Juan Luis Toboso. Mário Ferreira da Silva, the face that opened the house doors, chose the Spanish curator, who has already worked as a collaborator at Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, in order to stress an unique occasion. This trait of singularity was also extended to the selection of five artists, three national and two Spaniards, who comprise a formal and visual heterogeneity, which constitutes one of the typical characteristics of contemporary art.

Josep Maynou is the author of the works that stand out the most, both by the way they occupy the space and their shapes and aesthetics, which capture the viewer’s attention and provide a certain amount of experience. In the form of two carpets made by the artist in Morocco, based on local traditional techniques, the work inaugurates the walls, the ceiling and the floor of the gallery, crossing the path of those who spot them, and allowing themselves to be viewed from several different perspectives. Josep Maynou, despite living in Berlin, did a fair share of his academic path at Faculdade de Belas Artes do Porto, turning this moment into a perfect opportunity for some sort of creative return.

© Constança Babo

Exhibited at his side, also with a visual quality that immediately reveals itself, we find a work signed by Ramiro Guerreiro. The contact proofs of this interesting photographic work are gathered and presented under the title Enlatados (wedgies), representing yet another successful achievement for this artist, already familiar in the national art realm, especially since he was awarded an Honorable Mention from the Fundação EDP, in 2005. Increasing the size and individuality of the work even more, it was exhibited, framed and structurally organised in partnership with the renowned photographer André Cepeda.

The reflection on the canons of existing architecture in the work of Ramiro Guerreiro may also find continuity in the photographic diptych of Diana Carvalho. In relation to the remaining space, distributed by Fermin Jimenez Landa and Joana da Conceição, the transition to video and painting, respectively, is carried out. The viewer’s glance is therefore confronted with realities and also different artistic practices. Therefore, when perceiving all the works exhibited as a continuous set, as a whole, there is an intense dynamics and a consequent expository plurality.

Mário Ferreira da Silva precisely proposes to move with great dynamism, with the ambition to conduct six to eight exhibitions next year and, from that point forward, to compete at art fairs that allow him to solidify this new project. Its strictness is also evident in the architecture of the gallery, the painting of the walls, the lighting, and also in the intelligent design of an ambivalent lower floor, which can be used as an extension of the exhibition area, or as a space for creation and production of artists. It is, without any doubt, very clear that the platform has been carefully designed to relate and combine itself with the art that is going to get exhibited there. Lehman + Silva reaches us, as put by Mário Ferreira da Silva, in the form of an “intellectualized gallery”.

© João Morgado

Constança Babo (Porto, 1992) has a PhD in Media Art and Communication from Universidade Lusófona. Her research focuses on new media arts and curatorship. She has a master's degree in Art Studies - Art Theory and Criticism from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto and a degree in Visual Arts - Photography from the Porto School of Art. She has published scientific articles and critical texts. She was a research fellow in the international project Beyond Matter, at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe, and was a researcher at Tallinn University, in the MODINA project.

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