A Written Exhibition: Agustina Bessa-Luís and the Serralves Collection
The title of the exhibition that marks Agustina Bessa-Luís’ one hundredth anniversary (1922–2019) evokes the title of a work by a filmmaker who maintained a regular and fertile collaboration with the writer: Manoel de Oliveira’s Um Filme Falado [A Talking Picture] (2003). The point of departure for the show were the books Aforismos [Aphorisms] (1988), Contemplação Carinhosa da Angústia [A Tender Contemplation of Angst] (2000), Dicionário Imperfeito [Imperfect Dictionary] (a collection of excerpts in alphabetical order published in 2008) and Ensaios e Artigos [Essays and Articles] (1951–2007) (2017), which cover a wide range of subjects, themes and personalities. While reading these volumes – veritable revelations of Agustina’s world both in terms of form and content – some key authorial notions were identified. Those themes are the entries in this ‘dictionary-exhibition’, each of them generating a dialogue with works in the Serralves Collection by Portuguese and international artists, some of whom were her contemporaries. The aim is to create reverberations, unexpected synapses, between the words and the selected pieces, expanding their respective meanings and possible interpretations. The exhibition, which is designed to be read as much as it is to be seen, is presented as a three-dimensional book.