Em memória de mim: Gisela Casimiro at Armário

Armário will travel. Until June 2023, Armário will be in four Portuguese cities. The first is Coimbra, at Colégio das Artes, in an installation by Gisela Casimiro, with music by Odete. Then Almada, with Alexandre Estrela; Porto, with Inês Brites; Caldas da Rainha, with the Von Calhau; Évora, with Belém Uriel; returning to Lisbon in May next year with an installation by Luísa Cunha.

Based at Calçada da Estrela, in a room of the former school Arte Ilimitada, Armário is a curatorial project by Benedita Pestana and has made numerous interventions over the last 8 years. From May onwards, the project became mobile, reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp’s boîte-en-valise, known for the celebrated defiance that transformed mass-produced objects into the art of the ready-made. But Duchamp’s role as curator was no less radical and influential with the miniature museums, built inside handbags, with replicas of paintings, collages and sculptures. A kind of portable exhibition device, like the 17th-century kunstkammer (cabinets of curiosities), which lead us to think about the origin of the museum.

The body, mourning and spirituality are themes in Gisela Casimiro’s work, who has transformed the cupboard into a reliquary, a cabinet of curiosités. “Dear reliquary, / I am here, divine consciousness, quiet breeze, tamagochi bomb, a battery-operated heart that I cared for without kissing[1]. Inside, the personal objects evoke a domestic context -a pair of glasses on a pile of hanging letters-, but we need to open doors to discover shelves with meanings, because even an unassuming flowerpot can have a profound reference to vanitas (Latin for “vanity”). The fallen petals and worn candles recall a memento mori (Latin expression for “remember you must die”) in still lifes, reminding the viewer of life’s brevity and fragility, but also the pointlessness of vanity and worldly pleasures.

The viewer’s profile, frozen in contemplative stillness, before a still life is reflected by the Armário’s glass doors, juxtaposing the long pictorial tradition of perishable nature, in tension, stillness, permanence, transience and ephemerality. The spectator partakes in the vanitas allegory, becoming the object observed and completing “the painting”. The poetics of loss leads us to reflect on death as a biological and social phenomenon, on the predictability, but also the incomprehension that reminds us of the importance of millenary rituals that help us deal with intimate and affective, social and political issues. But can the spectator move from contemplation to action? Can the vulnerability of the bodies create new choreographies of solidarity and care policies?

The exhibition, Em memória de mim, by Gisela Casimiro, can be visited at Colégio das Artes until June 4.


[1] Jacinto, Rafaela (2022). Em memória de mim [Exhibition Text]. Coimbra: O Armário.

Filipa Valente (Aveiro, 1999) attends the master of Estudos Curatoriais, in Colégio das Artes (UC) and has a degree in Artes Visuais e Tecnologias Artísticas, in Escola Superior de Educação (IPP). Works at OSMOPE as an atelierist. Co-founded Galeria Ocupa. Writes for Umbigo Magazine – Contemporary Art and Culture. Was Assistant Curator and Press-Officer at Ágora_Bienal de Arte Contemporânea da Maia 2021. Participated in curating the exhibition “No sonho do homem que sonhava, o sonhado acordou”, presented at CAPC (2021) and MNAC (2022), having written the exhibition and publication texts. Her artistic career began in 2019, being highlighted the following individual exhibitions: “Pedra Aberta” (Concertos que nunca existiram, 2019) and “A Forma do Vazio” (Galeria Ocupa, 2019); collective exhibitions: “As pedras também constroem coisas” (Cisterna da FBAUL, 2021), “Presente Contínuo” (Centro de Arte Oliva, 2020), “Trabalho Capital # Greve Geral” (Centro de Arte Oliva, 2020) and “A Espessura do Mundo” (Espaço Mira, 2019); and participation in events such as: a videoart show at Canal 180, in partnership with Ágora_Bienal de Arte Contemporânea da Maia 2021. In 2021, participated in Laboratório de Investigação, Formação e Criação Artística | END+, produced by Colectivo 84, with the writing project "Drama, na 3ª Pessoa" which was later part of Festival END – Encontros de Novas Dramaturgias | 5ª Edição (2022).

Signup for our newsletter!

I accept the Privacy Policy

Subscribe Umbigo

4 issues > €34

(free shipping to Portugal)