Running from 21 June to 27 September
One of the events in this summer’s Allgarve cultural program is the Exhibition: “Blink -print works from the CAM collection”* taking place in Silves, at the House of Islamic and Mediterranean Culture.
The sub-title of this exhibition of engravings: “Deciding in the blink of an eye”, originates from a story about the authenticity of a Greek statue Kouros*, acquired in 1985 by the J. Paul Getty Museum**. The last decade has seen a maturing of photographic and digital image manipulation, but from its inception engraving broadened the sphere of artistic creation, by enabling works to be repeated through stamping so that they could be accessed and owned by a larger audience.
“The uniqueness of the printed work of art becomes evident when one considers that the original is the matrix produced by the artist, from which the prints are then produced. Its uniqueness is in the technique used in the production of the matrix, which is processed by the artist either by incising the surface of the plate through a stamping process, or by using more recent digital editing techniques.”***
Some argue that this reproduction of the art form makes the artistic object common. In economic terms, one would say that it’s a law of supply and demand: the more originals in circulation, the less value they have. Personally, I believe that the artistic merit in engraving is undeniable, and that the exhibition is well worth visiting for the different techniques and approaches to print-making on display. The exhibition includes works from Matisse, Henry Moore, Sonia Delaunay or Fernand Léger, to name only the most famous. I would highlight the poetic series of prints in the very unusual technique of plexi-glass, by Almada Negreiros in the sixties, as well as the works of MC Escher – who was predominantly an engraver. “Puddle” departs from his familiar thematic of optical illusions and impossible worlds, and is more reminiscent of Japanese prints, with a serene and enigmatic moon reflected in a puddle.
Last but not least are two prints by the famous Portuguese painter Paula Rego, living in the UK since the 1970′s. She was the first Associated Artist of London’s National Gallery, where she painted the gigantic panels for the restaurant of the Sainsbury Wing. These untitled prints are from her series of paintings entitled “Abortion”, depicting women in positions of tension, crouching or covering themselves, in which her mastery of drawing is more than evident.
The atmosphere, the recent improvements to, and pedestrianisation of public spaces, the new cultural and sporting amenities and the welcoming esplanades along the river and around the castle, all make the Silves of today well worth a visit.
* CAM is the Modern Art Centre of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, whose building was designed by the English architect Sir Leslie Martin back in the eighties.
** The question of its authenticity has persisted from the beginning and today the museum’s label reads “Greek, about 530 B.C., or modern forgery”
*** Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue published by the Gulbenkian Foundation.
To reach the House of Islamic and Mediterranean Culture, coming from the A22, pass the bridge over the Arade river, turn left on the EN 124 heading towards Monchique. After passing the Modelo supermarket, turn right until you reach a long garden at the “Largo da República”, on your right the distinctive dark red walls and Moorish look of the building let’s you know you’ve arrived.
Coordinates: 37°11’22.83″N; 8°26’50.14″W
Casa da Cultura Islâmica e Mediterrânica
(House of the Arabian and Mediterranean Cultures)
Largo da República – Silves
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 11pm, Monday and Saturday from 3pm to 11pm.
Closed on Sundays
Guided tours: Portuguese and English, Groups and Schools (upon request)
Reservations: +351 282 440 800 ext. 375
Reviewed by Arq. Miguel Ferriera
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