do arquivo do acervo – Works from the Figueiredo Ribeiro Collection

The exhibition do arquivo do acervo, curated by João Silvério, brings together 55 works by 24 artists from the Figueiredo Ribeiro Collection at Museu Ibérico de Arqueologia e Arte de Abrantes. It is open until November 19.

Drawing on the semantic juggling of this exhibition’s title, also the cornerstone of the curatorship, we examine the collection as an acquis – a group of assets with an owner; and the exhibition as an archive – the collection’s organization according to a logic: cataloguing, if we prefer and if we intend to use a more archivistic parlance. This curatorial exercise elucidates the work done with a collection (an acquis): a part is reorganized, catalogued, according to a discursive logic, sometimes ephemeral as experiential matter, but whose goal is to make it permanent in the archive of the collection itself. In a contemporary art collection, we must accept the archival simultaneity (the archive should only be unique in museological terms). Any exhibition arising from a collection becomes another archive, another way of being seen and thought of.

Structured by author, the themes of the exhibition are the landscape and the human figure through painting, drawing, engraving, photography and sculpture. The two rooms and their respective architectural differences played a part when choosing the works – the proportional relationship with the human body is more intense in the second room, which is narrower and has larger works, for instance.

This association with the notion of archive and acquis is visible in some of the works displayed, making them the plastic support of the curatorial thought. I believe it is important to mention A Caixa by Vasco Araújo, a wall piece with a text based on Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s A revoada, unveiled on the opening day by the curator; and Archivo III by Nuno Nunes-Ferreira, an old typography furniture with photocopied and glued photos in MDF of personalities and newspaper headlines of great historical importance, filed/organized according to an apparently unnoticeable logic.

In the first room, we have I’ll Be Watching You by Tiago Alexandre: nine clay heads with caps, reminding us of the lyrics of the song Every Breath You Take by the British The Police. There is no sound in this piece, but the organisation (archive) of its elements in a certain order creates a resonance in the viewer’s mind, as it resembles an easily recognisable a priori pop element. This is also an archive: the resonant order. Or rather: not forgetting the invisible when archiving the visible. Such is the intersection point between the curatorial gesture and the archival gesture of manifold.

A contemporary art collection is also an acquis of traces of occurrences from an abstract entity called time, regardless of their historical relevance. That which remains of what is contemporary to us and which fortunately is collected and mutated by that demiurgic entity: the artist.

do arquivo do acervo presents works by Alberto Carneiro, Albuquerque Mendes, Alexandre Baptista, Ana Caetano, Ana Jotta, Ana Manso, Ana Pérez-Quiroga, Ana Vidigal, Ângela Ferreira, Carla Cabanas, Carla Rebelo, Carlos Alberto Correia, Constança Arouca, Domingos Rego, Edgar Massul, Fátima Frade Reis, Fernão Cruz, Isabel Baraona, João Tabarra, Julião Sarmento, Nuno Nunes-Ferreira, Susana Mendes Silva, Tiago Alexandre, Vasco Araújo.

Daniel Madeira (Coimbra, 1992) has a degree in Artistic Studies from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra and a Master's in Curatorial Studies from the Colégio das Artes at the same university. Between 2018 and 2021, he coordinated the Exhibition Space and the Educational Project of the Águeda Arts Center. Currently, he collaborates with the Círculo de Artes Plásticas de Coimbra (CAPC).

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