Ana Vidigal x Nuno Nunes-Ferreira

The contemporary time is a time of questioning. It doesn’t have an assigned era, nor a chronology. It is a shifting and personal time, an interior and divergent time in its global sense and, most of all, a critical time. This way, contemporary arts can only be a deep, political practice without being subjected to any partisanship. Contemporary art asks and demands from the viewer a position and a reflection by confronting him/her with global, universal, present and historical subjects. As Terry Smith argues, it is an art “conceived as a field of critical, theoretical, historical, and, above all, art historical inquiry”.

The exhibition Toma lá dá cá [roughly Give and Take] reunites two of the most cherished contemporary artists who make the investigation on the recent Portuguese history and culture their main pratice: Ana Vidigal and Nuno Nunes-Ferreira. In this context, memory and archive are their main artistic and conceptual media, in a dialogue that they propose to themselves and to the Portuguese contemporaneity.

Dictatorship and freedom, resistance and fight, submission and liberation, conservatism and progress, private and common. It’s in this field of dualities that these artists are showing their work now at NovaOgiva Gallery, in Óbidos, bringing their productions to a yet blistering terrain to remember, but always necessary and crucial if we’re to make any sense of our present.

If Nuno says “Festa [Party]”, Ana answers “(…) it could have been the town fairs, bed sheets and towels. They sold dreams and utopias”. If Nuno remembers “Verão Quente [the historical Hot Summer]”, Ana delivers “(…) it was the adolescence of the Revolution”. If Nuno demands “Aqui [Here]”, Ana underlines “(…) it is of the memory that I speak, not what they told me, but what stayed written in the archive of horror”. And, in reverse, if Ana asks “OÚ VA T’ON?”, Nuno replies with another question: “Which past was this in which you hide yourself?”.

This isn’t just a mere dialogue, but also a recollection of works made by the artists and, in this sense, the exhibition makes a digested review to each practice. In the end, this is a critical and artistic meeting above which a political line is well drawn, by two artist that blossomed – in different periods – with the awakening of democracy.

Simultaneously, in the Museu Municipal de Óbidos the exhibition Guardadores de Memórias_Hoje [Memory Keepers_Today] may also be seen, in which both artists make use of the city ancient collections to bring them into contemporaneity. This is a rather curious title since it remembers that museums have a continuous action of recollecting and curating, in the etymological sense of the word – they curate and keep the utmost singular objects of time and show them in the present.

Toma lá dá cá may be seen at novaogiva gallery, until April 15th, and Guardadores de Memórias_Hoje at the Museu Municipal de Óbidos, until May 20th.

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