The exhibition Contra-parede (Against the wall) is a dialogue between the work of artists Ana Vidigal, Nuno Nunes-Ferreira and Pedro Gomes. Taking as its starting point a rumination on the significance of the wall itself — spanning prehistoric caves, the building façades of ancient civilisations, Christian churches since the Middle Ages, medieval frescos, Renaissance trompe d’œil, the Berlin wall, propagandist murals and graffiti — as the quintessential surface for intervention in the public sphere, the artists have set out in different ways to scrutinise the architectural space itself, within which the work is being displayed. At the same time contemplating the social, historical, cultural and political implications of the museum institution, the works engage in a fruitful debate on the role of art to involve the local communities in which they are being shown.
The pieces byAna Vidigal, consistent with her work’s interest inissues both domestic and feminist, are notable for their tongue-in-cheek political commentary and further the necessary debate between the public and private.Nuno Nunes-Ferreira, with recourse to his vast archive of newspapers and magazines, has completed a mural which alludes to the political repercussions of thefascist Estado Novo periodand the currency of freedom where the individual voice and discourse reinforce the common good. Pedro Gomes explores the medium of drawing in panels reminiscent of wallpaper, that seek out a tension with the architectural space in their depiction of recurring (pre)conceptions of the museum institution from the 19th century to the 20th century’s white cube.
By adding the prefix of against to thewall, this engenders an ironic commentary on the contradiction of provoking the very institutions that thrive in such architectural contexts, and thereby wield their power. In fact, by almost entirely filling the exhibition space, the works that together make up Contra-parede gain a visibility that, through the active involvement of both the artists and the public as informed spectators, reveal themselves to be spatial subversions of counter-power gaming.
Contra-parede will be on exhibition at the Côa Museum / Côa Park Foundation from October 2nd to November 21st.