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Fishink in Lisbon Part 5 Museums and Art Galleries

February 22, 2016

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Welcome to the fifth and final part of my recent travels to Lisbon. Today I am initially visiting the Ricardo Espirito Santo Foundation collection or the Decorative Arts Collection. It’s situated in a corner of Miradouro das Portas do Sol in the 17th century Azurara Palace,  the museum gives a picture of aristocratic life in the 18th and 19th centuries. The building itself was bought by Ricardo Espirito Santo, a wealthy banker who later bequeathed his valuable collection to the state.  These ceramic pieces caught my attention.

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Some wonderfully detailed tapestries.

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Although the museum was very informative and the building was an original 17th C. former city palace of the Count of Azurara, it sadly wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped. I find that I’m currently more drawn to the decoration on objects, rather than rooms set out to display and discuss various time periods. So within an hour, Fishink had seen it all and quickly left the building.

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As a surprising contrast, another free, and much more interesting experience, came by way of the Berardo Collection Museum. It is a museum of modern and contemporary art in Belém. Full of fresh invigorating spaces, clean lines and a great array of different artists work. As a point of interest the Art Auctioneer Christies, valued the collection to be worth in the region of 315 million Euros ! Let’s begin with a little David Hockney, you can never go wrong there.

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A couple more 1960’s artists Allen Jones and Peter Phillips.

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Alain Jacquet, associated with Pop Art and the minimovement known as Mec Art (for mechanical art), made use of mechanical processes and advertising clichés in photoscreened works like his “Déjeuner sur l’herbe” series. In it, he posed three friends, including the French critic Pierre Restany and his wife, in modern dress and slipped in a commercially packaged loaf of bread with the label “Jacquet.”  He later used photoscreen processes to superimpose textures like burlap, wood or steel on cotton fabric, Plexiglas or plastic.

“My work is all about making images disappear,” he said in an interview in The New York Times in 1968. “It’s a visual, formal thing — there’s no deep philosophy behind it and I’m not commenting on photojournalism. I’m fascinated by the way a picture can break down into the tiniest abstract elements close up, then reappear as a pictorial image.”

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I liked this Lynn Chadwick sculpture, are they ladies or bats ? More in a blogpost to come.

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Quite a few artists here, whose work was unknown to me, I’ll be looking them up soon.

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There was a fascinating exhibition by the Colombian artist Nicolás Paris, called ‘Four variations on nothing or talking about that which has no name’. I found his collection of objects, intriguing and loved the interactive parts of the exhibition where people could join in and make patterns with spinning tops etc

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The exhibition ‘Your body is my body‘  was a selection of around three hundred art and political posters from Portugal and abroad, taken from the collection assembled by Ernesto de Sousa throughout his life, and dating from between 1933 and 1988.

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Some of these artists were already familiar to me, like the police and criminal one above by, others were new and it was great to see so many of them on display all together.

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More contemporary sculptures.

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Even the door to the gent’s toilet was a work of art ! lol

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Finally a last chance to ride the Funicular Railway from one city level, up to the next. Only a five-minute journey, but great to experience the old carriage with all it’s creaking and jerky movements. I felt like I was in a 1930’s spy film.

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Here’s the route from above and a glimpse of ‘Cervejaria Trindade’ where we had a beer and a sit down. Great frescos on the wall tiles and the waiters were dressed to look like monks!

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Lisbon was such a breath of fresh air. I was only there for three and a half days but, in a good way, it felt like so much longer. I’d just like to end with a few postcards I bought by graphic artist Tiago f Moura. He created this project in 2012, when he entered a contest sponsored by clothing manufacturer Benetton called “Unemployee of the Year”. Contestants were asked to use their creativity and ingenuity to address the problem of unemployment and promote hope in a poor economy. Moura intended to capture the positive spirit of European cities through his unique illustrations.  I think he’s managed to encapsulate Lisbon’s charm very well indeed.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey as much as I did. Do let me know your thoughts, or if you’ve visited yourself and seen something I have missed out, tell me and I’ll add it to my list for next time : )

In case you missed any here are the links to the previous posts.

Fishink in Lisbon Part 4 Streets, treats and city life

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