Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes in black and white

Some names are repeated in other private collections of Contemporary Art, assembled in national territory, as if there were a more or less communal map. The same names are present at exhibitions that mirror the recent acquisitions of public museums, at least of those that truly dedicate themselves to the cause, which have an acquisition policy and are attentive to the “new”. However, as a whole, the task has been conducted by private entities, and even though they have kept their responsibility of not only acquiring, a vital exercise for the dissemination of the production and for the creators’ survival, but studying and promoting the collections based on communication apparatus, such is the case of exhibitions or publications, in which the curators assume more and more the role of intermediaries of the artist-public discourse. Aware of this responsibility, João Silvério launches an interpretation process of recent works from the Collection of Fundação PLMJ, promoting connections and a (re)reading of proposals from artists as fascinating as Andrea Inocêncio,  André Cepeda, Dalila Gonçalves, Daniel Blaufuks, João Penalva, Jorge Molder, Julião Sarmento, Paulo Catrica or Vasco Araújo, conducting a subjective selection of the 39 who, in total, present themselves in A Preto & Branco, 29 March, at Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, in Lisbon.

João Silvério’s selection is dominated by photography, whilst also representing the presence of drawing and video, and the whole, like the absence (white and black), is the gathering motto of the selection. With a classic but notable assemblage, the curatorial proposal can, at first, give the sense of immersion in a vast place of mirrors with the outside world, from which we fled when entering the cultural space (a museum or other). The human presence, either by imagery references to the city, street photography, portraits or memorial travels that promote themselves to social and political contexts when afloat, is the great subject matter of the exhibition, which emphasizes the cultural diversity VS divergence of our territories, as well as the dispersion and compression of the emotional states exposed. Fundação PLMJ starts from the habit of collecting of a homonymous law firm and, remaining faithful to the intent, distributes and occupies SNBA with an exhibition of unusual combinations that reads the space it occupies, and creates an expographic challenge, questioning the audiences.

On the same day when I visited this exhibition, SNBA was hosting, at Galeria Pintor Fernando de Azevedo, a solo exhibition of Rui Tavares (n.1974), entitled Branco | Da verticalidade das Coisas. “A painting is an answer to an unknown question,” states the author in the show’s introductory text, which truly presents itself as a breath of fresh air, pursuing the verbs “conceive, try and create,” to paraphrase Rute Rosas, which make the artistic matter visceral, fruitful and worthy.

Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes has regularly presented a program of exhibitions that makes it go back to the Poiesis of the vanguards, remaining faithful to the valorisation of the Techné, approaching and shoving the Mimesis, if we put the several proposals of the exhibition of the Collection of Fundação PLMJ, and the one of Rui Tavares, dialoguing with each other, because that is how they present themselves to the audience: dialoguing and juxtaposed.


Helena Mendes Pereira (n.1985) is curator and researcher in artistic and cultural contemporary practices. Often, she adventures at dramaturgy and collaborates, as a producer, in projects related to music and theatre, where she has many of its professional bases. Has a degree in Art History (FLUP); attended the specialization in Museology (FLUP), and the post-graduation in Arts Management (UCP); has a Master's degree in Communication, Art and Culture (ICS-UMinho) and is doing a PhD in Communication Sciences with a thesis about Art Market after 25 April 1974. He is currently chief curator of shairart and Professor of Contemporary Art while maintaining effective collaboration in various projects of curating and education and cultural mediation, with Cerveira Art Biennial Foundation, entity which took her first steps in 2007.

Signup for our newsletter!

I accept the Privacy Policy

Subscribe Umbigo

4 issues > €34

(free shipping to Portugal)