Gil Heitor Cortesão, João Paulo Feliciano, José Loureiro, Daniel Malhão, João Penalva, João Paulo Serafim, Susana Mendes Silva, João Tabarra, João Vilhena
The foyer of the Serralves Auditorium hosts a series of photographs from the former BPP Collection (Coleção BPP – Banco Privado Português) that were originally featured in the exhibition To whom it may concern: a collection, a letter, which brought a substantial part of it to the Serralves Museum. The selection of works featured here followed three main criteria: they had to fit the physical conditions of the foyer; their authors should be represented in the Serralves Collection (underlining possible dialogues between the collections and their mutual complementarity); the themes of the artworks should be linked to the image-universe of the activities featured in the Auditorium, from cinema, music and theatre, to dance and performance.
As indicated by the title, this exhibition was put together as if it were a
letter, assuming that all exhibitions are epistles whose recipients are everyone and no one in particular. The collection in question (the BPP Collection, from the former Banco Privado Português) includes many works by artists who are already present in the Serralves Collection, thereby furthering our ability to study in depth and present several Portuguese and foreign artists who are considered to be key references in the artistic panorama between the 1960s and the present day. It should also be noted that this set of works also enriches the Serralves Collection to the extent that it contemplates artists who were not previously included therein but can establish an exemplary dialogue with the artists whose works we have been collecting.
As the first comprehensive exhibition of the BPP Collection to be held in Serralves, we tried to create a ‘letter’ that did not exclude any potential recipient. The aim was to show a high number of works, rather than adopt pre-defined perspetives on the works that might narrow their reception. From a formal perspective, the inspiration for the walls lined with works was the 19th-century painting ‘Salons.’ This opening ‘letter’ will enable future specific readings, through the presentation of an (almost) ‘whole’… and a ‘whole’ that avoids the standard, more immediate curatorial decisions, such as subordinating group exhibitions to specific themes, or doing justice, and giving a stage and space to artists and narratives which have hitherto been neglected. We chose to group the works into various nuclei, corresponding to classical themes, which are perhaps considered to be rather inoperative, archaic or academic, but which allowed us to dispense with matters that are considered to be more ‘contemporary.’ Concepts such as ‘portrait,’ ‘landscape,’ ‘geometry,’ ‘architecture’ and ‘narratives/fables,’ which are sufficiently broad and porous, make it possible to construct a general framework of mobile units, that can subsequently be re-articulated into new organisations.
Furthermore, this exhibition also highlights the common history between the BPP Collection and the Serralves Collection, since the Serralves Museum’s first artistic directors (Vicente Todolí and João Fernandes) had a close relationship with the BPP Collection’s acquisition committee, suggested the acquisition of several works and ensured their deposit in Serralves. This certainly establishes the Foundation as the most natural, most obvious ‘interested’ party.
The exhibition To Whom It May Concern: A Collection, A Letter was organised by the Serralves Foundation and curated by Ricardo Nicolau and Isabel Braga.