Zonas de Transição: works by Fundação PLMJ at Cordoaria Nacional

Cordoaria Nacional’s East Tower is hosting the exhibition Zonas de Transição until January 7, 2024, the most recent exhibition of pieces from Fundação PLMJ’s contemporary art collection and the most comprehensive in the last 15 years. It features 90 artists, including Ana Jotta, Ângela Ferreira, Ana Pérez-Quiroga, Carlos Bunga, Daniel Blaufuks, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Mónica de Miranda, Noé Sendas, Sara Bichão and Rita GT.

João Silvério curated the exhibition, focussing on artists from the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), bringing together 150 works by over 90 artists from the collection. The exhibited pieces encompass around four decades of production and cover fields such as painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and video, by artists from different generations, countries and backgrounds. The themes addressed include body representation, architecture and textual language, through pieces that, whilst having different geographical provenances, cross paths aesthetically, poetically and politically.

The exhibition is rooted in two key lines: the revisiting of historical centres encompassing works from late 20th century, with Julião Sarmento or Jorge Molder, to the artistic output of the last five years, with Fernão Cruz or Horácio Frutuoso. This double-edged approach generates a visual symphony capable of bridging time barriers, offering an intergenerational dialogue.

When we enter the exhibition area, we are immediately surrounded by the absence of a chronological or geographical order, leaving fertile ground for discovery and exploration. The Portuguese language skilfully spins this narrative, reflected directly in works using textual language.

For one thing, the word itself is used as a resource for political statements, such as Alice Geirinhas’ mural Assemblage [As Três Marias] (2010), or the large-scale painting Call Me… (2009-2010) by Angolan artist Yomani. Secondly, language is given a more poetic flavour in the photo series Atlas do Corpo e da Imaginação (2021) by Os Espacialistas + Gonçalo M. Tavares, where literature takes on the photographic image’s narrative. But also, in Fátima Mendonça’s painting Sem título IV [from the series A Casa do Desarranjo] (1998), where words echo domesticity and intimacy.

Architecture comes to light in Carlos Bunga and Nuno Sousa Vieira’s drawings, in Rosana Ricalde’s floor plan, or in Nuno Cera’s two photographs, where the eyes rest upon a place undergoing transformation.

In Rita GT’s photography, Sem título [I’ve got it all] (2005), inserted in a light box, and in Mónica de Miranda Achilles’ heel [from the series Tomorrow is another day] (2018), delving into the human anatomy, body exploration takes centre stage. In Helena-Almeida’s video-performance, where the body is used to map the place, or in Noé Sendas’ impactful sculpture Sr. Central (2005), where an inert, faceless body lies on the gallery floor.

For technical reasons, video often struggles to be exhibited, but it also comes to the fore on both exhibition floors. We can see a total of 17 video works, including those by Jéssica Gaspar, António Olaio, José Maças de Carvalho, Maimuna Adam, Filipa César and Francisco Queiroz.

PLMJ’s collection was established in 2001 and is a Corporate Art Collection, with PLMJ Advogados, SP, RL as its founding entity. All this time, Fundação PLMJ has been pursuing its mission of promoting the diversity of artistic expression by spreading the word about its collection through exhibitions, catalogues and monographic books. Focusing on CPLP countries’ artistic output and aiming to support new generations, PLMJ’s vast collection includes around 1.400 works, where photography is one of the collection’s centrepieces.

Zonas de Transição is the most recent project to express PLMJ’s commitments, a major exhibition that not only acknowledges the past, but also celebrates the present and looks forward to the future, underlining the vital place of the Portuguese language as a bond transcending borders and providing room for endless dialogues within contemporary artistic endeavours.

Laurinda Marques (Portimão, 1996) has a degree in Multimedia Art - Audiovisuals from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Universidade de Lisboa. She did an internship in the Lisbon Municipal Archive Video Library, where she collaborated with the project TRAÇA in the digitization of family videos in film format. She recently finished her postgraduate degree in Art Curatorship at NOVA/FCSH, where she was part of the collective of curators responsible for the exhibition “Na margem da paisagem vem o mundo” and began collaborating with the Umbigo magazine.

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