D. Valentim, the Peaceful
As soon we take the road that leads us to Palace of Ajuda, we feel the odour of trees and we hear the birds tweeting. For a moment, it seems that the frantic movement of Belém has been left far behind, much more than the actual distance from that point to Calçada da Ajuda. When we step into the new studio de Valentim Quaresma, located inside the palace, silence is the reigning element and, at that moment, we realize why he replaced Chiado’s bustling movement with an artistic residence in this spot, during which he will develop a sculpture project inspired by the cognomens of the Portuguese kings.
The idea emerged about a year and a half ago, but this period in between was necessary to put it into practice. When he started to draw the project, he immediately thought that it would make sense to work in a historical space where he could also exhibit the sculptures. From that point, he reached Palace of Ajuda, where he installed himself about a month ago. The space is slowly taking shape with the elements that he uses to build his pieces, orderly organized in tables scattered along one of the walls. He finds those objects in the flea market Feira da Ladra, in the street, in the garbage, everywhere. He is permanently looking at his surroundings. He confesses that he has a tendency to accumulate things and so he seized this change to clean stuff, solely bringing what he deemed essential. He says he needs these “reboots” on a cyclical basis and that they instinctively happen every 5 years in his life. The change to Palace of Ajuda coincided exactly with one of those stages in which he felt the need to slow down, focusing on the task that he proposed himself to achieve. To develop this project in the hustle and bustle of Chiado was something impossible and being in the Palace will serve not only as a “calming effect, but also as a source of inspiration”.
The project will be developed over the course of a year and the whole creative process will be documented. The idea is to include this material in the exhibition’s catalogue, which will happen in 2019. The expectation is to have 10 pieces, but everything can change until then. He just knows that he wants to increase the scale of his sculptures and that all the techniques and materials used over the years are intended to achieve this goal. It will be a sort of zenith of all the knowledge and experience acquired.
Throughout this year, he will continue to develop his auteur work, presenting the collections in ModaLisboa and welcoming trainees because teaching is a source of pleasure for him. When he finishes his residence, he still doesn’t know what he will do next, and he’s not interested in knowing that. He just wants to be completely focused on the task he has in hands.
On our part, a promise was made to make a new visit in 6 months, to know how things are going, and to lift the veil of the work conducted so far.