"Isto de ser moderno é como ser elegante: não é uma maneira de vestir mas sim uma maneira de ser. Ser moderno não é fazer a caligrafia moderna, é ser o legítimo descobridor da novidade."
"Being modern is like being elegant: it's not a way of dressing but a way of being. Being modern is not making modern calligraphy, it's being the legitimate discoverer of novelty."
José de Almada Negreiros, 1927
Recently visited the magnificent exhibition that Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian is presenting on the work of Almada Negreiros. This anthological exhibition, with about 400 pieces, is a comprehensive retrospective on the work of an artist who propelled the avant-garde in the 1910s and whose career spanned the 20th century.
Almada Negreiros (1893-1970) was a prolific and varied artist, being a master of multiple crafts. To him, every art was a part of the “spectacle” an artist was required to present to the public, so that every piece, gesture or attitude was a means to reveal a total idea of modernity.
Creative, provocative and autodidact, Almada Negreiros worked with different techniques, and artistic languages. He was a painter, an actor, a writer and an enthusiast of cinema.
This impressive exhibition presents paintings and drawings that are closely linked to the work the artist did in collaboration with architects, writers, publishers, musicians, set designers and stage directors. Some of the drawings and paintings are studies done in preparation of larger works that can be found all over the city. The exhibition presents a map of the sites where one can find these works of Almada Negreiros.
The exhibits are organized according to 7 key themes present in the work of the artist, beautifully presented in two galleries of the museum. The lobby of the Foundation presents itself one major work of Almada Negreiros, the mural with over 12 meters long is an ode to Geometry, one of the passions of the artist, and it was his final work. The title expresses once more his undeniable genius. Começar, which is the Portuguese word for To Begin!
JOSÉ ALMADA NEGREIROS : A WAY OF BEING MODERN
FUNDAÇÃO CALOUST GULBENKIAN
3 February to 5 June 2017