Image: José Pedro Croft, Untitled, n. d. Private Collection, long-term loan to Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto. Deposit 2004
ANA JOTTA, BARBARA KRUGER, CABRITA, DARA BIRNBAUM, FISCHLI & WEISS, GERARDO BURMESTER, GUERRILLA GIRLS, JOAQUIM BRAVO, JOSÉ PEDRO CROFT, RUI CHAFES, RUI SANCHES
'The Return of the Object’ features works by Portuguese and international artists who matured their artistic discourse during the 1980s. The works on view demonstrate the transformations that art underwent during this period and reveal how the complexity of these artists’ practices goes beyond preconceived ideas about the art of the 1980s.
The works presented in this exhibition testify, on one hand, a general reaction to the predominance of minimal and conceptual art in the previous decades. This reaction took the form of a notable return to painting and sculpture and the use of traditional materials, namely iron, bronze and wood. This decade also witnessed a revival of classical themes related to the history of art, a reappearance of figurative and metaphoric imagery together with poetic or evocative titles, and an association with applied arts and popular culture. On the other hand, 1980s were marked by strong political activism associated with identity issues and by the development of a critical approach to consumer society, recent technological developments and mass culture — issues that ground the work of several artists represented in the exhibition.
This diversity is connected to the early stages of globalization, placing very different cultures in contact and fostering their mutual influence. The exhibition constitutes an opportunity to look anew at the art of this decade that represented the end of the isolation that the dictatorship had inculcated in Portugal, leading to an increasing synchronism with the international art world.
‘The Return of the Object’ is part of the Touring Exhibitions Programme of the Serralves Collection, which aims to make the Foundation’s collection accessible to different audiences across the country.
Production: Fundação de Serralves — Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto