“Black Box: Museu Imaginário” is numbered 0 of a cycle of six exhibitions to take place in Museu do Caramulo over the next six years. Each one of them will be directed by an artist, and it is up to me to inaugurate this cycle.
The format, not being unheard of, is here examined with the aim of exponentiating the resonances of contemporary art, through direct communication with the museum’s collection, in itself extremely varied in genre and in style.
In addition to this record of time with its various overlapping layers, the current administration’s desire was to continue the work started by their predecessors, framing it in a structured cultural policy in line with the original intention of the founders. Those intentions are to keep the collection public, create dynamics that enable new ways of viewing the collections—both of existing works and new ones to come, bring diversified audiences and thus enhance the museum as a cultural asset.
The intention behind this first episode, and which will serve as a motto for those who follow, is to open space for thought, in an action / reaction discourse, generated by the inclusion of works by contemporary artists in the various rooms of the Museum. There will therefore be two moments of interest: that of the work itself, with its full range of meanings, and of the confrontation of this with the surroundings, expanding the potential for meaning in this ricochet.
Black Box will be the generic definition of the exhibition cycle and, contrary to the idea of a “white cube”, it points to the notion of a full place, which is not filled out of nothing, being in itself content.
The chosen name also alludes to the notion of “black box”, the equipment used in commercial airplanes as a registration tool. An instrument with which a parallelism can be established, since the black box gathers all the information and keeping it safe even in the most adverse conditions.
This is also the function of a museum. A memory device that contains Time, fulfilling an essential function for the maintenance of life. There is no future without memory or culture.
In this first exhibition, I decided as the project’s matrix, to bring together some artists that I would like to see confronted in the presence of the museum’s collection. Exploration of the reverberation between the works in the museum’s collection and the works of invited artists was the objective. According to this principle, it seemed more important to me to trace a conflict between reason and passion than the logical assertiveness of curatorship. I prefer the trial and error of a laboratory to the certainty of a result. For this reason, these choices are mainly “elective affinities”, and are more responsible for the experience of confrontation than for curatorial certainty. In fact, since art is not a science; much less accurate, this echo between classic and contemporary works should provoke a change in the viewer and add meaning to the museum itself.
It is, therefore, this mosaic of interactions that interests me. It is not the individual works with their power of intrinsic significance, but the narrative produced by contact with the museum’s collection.
A window of strangeness is opened and the meaning is amplified, both of the works that exist there, of the works of the invited artists and, finally, of the museum itself. The logic is consciously incomplete and experimental, with unforeseen consequences.
Invited artists: José Pedro Croft, Julião Sarmento, Fernanda Fragateiro, Miguel Ângelo Rocha, Rui Chafes and João Queiroz.