In an age where there is a constant flow of production and circulation of photographic and filmic portraits, in a society organised around the image but which, paradoxically, destroys it through excess, it is fundamental to question the life of images and, in particular, the role of the portrait in our culture. Taking, by way of homage, the title of a dialogue about the portrait painting of Francisco de Holanda (Lisbon, 1517-1585), Do Tirar Polo Natural (On Portraiture From Life), the exhibition aims to be more than a mere anthology of the best Portuguese portraits, or an attempt to identify Portugal through its faces. We intend instead to reflect on what a portrait is and what it can do, the impulse from which it arises and where its limits lie.
Confronting works from very different periods, we present the portrait in three paradigmatic categories: as an emotional device, as a means of forming personal identity and as a strategy of power. We know, too, from the outset, that this is a failed exhibition: because there are always portraits that could have been chosen but weren’t, and because a portrait always conveys something of a failure, it is formed of an absence.
The portrait is an appeal. We look at it and we are looked at in return. It offers itself and questions us – so, let us be disturbed.
Paulo Pires do Vale
June 28th | 18h30
Friday, July 6th, there will be no projection of Susana Sousa Dias' video, 48.
We apologize for any inconvenience