Through the Keyhole: Nuno Maia

Through the Keyhole is a formless and informal project, intending to show how different works, documents and objects are displayed in one’s home. It is not so much an exhibition as an unconcerned show, composed by idiosyncrasies and affections that escape us, with reflections not limited to the language of art: the works find their place in any corner of the house and private memory, among books, paraphernalia, souvenirs, unusual and dissonant for some, regular and harmonious for others.

Through the Keyhole is the suspension of objective coherence; a compliment to subjective order. Looking with curiosity through a door’s keyhole, which, with its publication, materializes itself in a simple generous act, which must be respected and intuited in this way. It is an atlas of affectivity, more than a Mnemosyne atlas – after all, times are intertwined: the personal with the historical, the collective memory with that of its actors and authors.

Along the way, the right place for art, far from the institution or the compulsive and curated collection – the place of art close to the ghosts of emotions and the intimate relational continuum, of time and space composed of complicities, social gatherings, boredom, sorrows, frustrations and joys. The place of art close to each one.

Throughout this project, Umbigo will invite artists to show part of their houses and works with which they vigilantly share their daily lives. Each image is the face of a thought and a look, but also of a living and a being – until the pandemic allows it, until the street and the public social space return.

Through the Keyhole does not want to be much, it does not intend to be a landmark, just a crack in the door through which we peep, and a brief rearrangement of notes and objects, a fleeting order in the always chaotic and profuse private space.


We met Nuno through friends of friends of friends, acquaintances of acquaintances of acquaintances… On that ever-expanding (a)social media that Instagram is, Nuno showed us his home, his lovely pet, Gastão, the works that vibrantly fill the walls of each room, and what this section is really about: his generosity and the intimate side of art, with no hierarchies, stigmas, classifications or compositions.

More on Nuno: “I’m Nuno Maia, an architect living in Costa Nova, near Aveiro, and I collect essentially works by Portuguese artists. I like to meet new artists, some while still studying Fine Arts in Porto and Lisbon, as well as in Caldas da Rainha, and I’ve been gladly surprised by them.

The cult of the arts was introduced to quite early through the influence of my grandfather, Carlos da Branca, painter at Vista Alegre, and my aunt Maria Eduarda of whom I still keep some of her works. It was she who showed me during my childhood the ceramic figures of Barcelos, putting me in touch with the Cota and Ramalho families.

I work in Coimbra, at Luísa Bebiano’s architecture studio, and I’ve dedicated myself to the investigation in the fields of Portuguese Architecture Theory and History.

Signup for our newsletter!

I accept the Privacy Policy

Subscribe Umbigo

4 issues > €34

(free shipping to Portugal)