The Museum as Performance

The Museum as Performance

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art

1. Ula Sickle, Relay. © Manual Gonzalez. 2. Mairéad Delaney, Breach II. 3. David Helbich, Scores for Body, the Building and the Soul. 4. André Uerba, Burn Time. © DK Izgorevanje. 5. Arthur Jafa’s Exhibition Catalogue.

September 4, 2020
The Museum as Performance
September 12–13, 2020
Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150–417 Porto
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–7pm,
Saturday–Sunday 10am–8pm

T +351 22 615 6500
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The sixth edition of The Museum as Performance consolidates the fundamental premises of the programme, which have become apparent over the years. However, as it becomes impossible to forget the extraordinary context of 2020, this new edition will not only “highlight the crucial role of performative arts in the history and identity of the Serralves Museum,” but it also frames an opportunity to address the complexities and challenges of presenting projects that require the sharing of the same space by viewers and artists today, which is the case of the so-called live arts. How so? Strategies and approaches were based to a large extent on the observation and tuning in with the artists’ questions and practices, informed by the present conditions. The idea of crisis, even before the pandemic, is not new to artists who work in places that are difficult to define, as they explore the increasingly blurred boundaries between performative and visual arts to produce works that entail the collaboration between technically distinct areas. The reflection on a crisis that was at once unforeseen and expected should also serve to think, react and even try out possibilities for change.

This year’s programme once again includes Portuguese and foreign artists. It proposes several paths into the complexity of reality, namely a deceleration that might allow for an inquiring into the confusing and non-stop turbulence and excess of the times in which we live. For several projects, that deceleration is linked to the duration, as they develop over long time periods. For the artists, the durational performances represent a physical investment that explores intensity (a term that must be understood in its multiple senses), and which allows the audience to experience different modalities of attention across projects that call for a reflection on the unstable balance on which many of our beliefs about art, life and the relationship between the two are based.

As Serralves questions its own place by presenting a group of artists and works that offer a web of disciplinary encounters and intersections, including performance, dance, music, installation, drawing, sculpture and cinema, it also explores the possibilities and potentialities of the diversification of rhythms of engagement with the works, with the context of this programme and with the condition of being here, now and together.

Máiréad Delaney, José Alberto Gomes & João Dias, David Helbich, Vanda Madureira, Sara Manente, Christophe Albertijn, Ondine Cloez, Michiel Reynaert, Dori Nigro & Paulo Pinto, Ula Sickle, Gustavo Sumpta, André Uerba, Sara Vaz & Marco Balesteros

Curated by:
Cristina Grande, Pedro Rocha, Ricardo Nicolau


Arthus Jafa’s exhibition catalogue: 
Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable Yet Extraordinary Renditions (featuring Ming Smith, Frida Orupabo and Missylanyus)

276 pp.
170 x 234 mm, soft cover
bilingual POR/ENG
ISBN 978-972-739-376-3 Order here

“… definitely… the default intro to my work/thinking”―such was Arthur Jafa’s appraisal of the book Serralves has just published to mark the last iteration of his eponymous exhibition. Offering a complete photographic survey of Jafa’s works and those of his “co-conspirators“ (Smith, Orupabo and Missylanyus) installed in the Álvaro Siza-designed galleries of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art and CCMO, the catalogue features a presentation by the Museum’s Director, Philippe Vergne, and a new survey of Jafa’s project by CCMO’s director, António Preto, tracing the references and discourses the artist engages with in his persistent inquire on the experience and specific expressions of negritude in the US. This most comprehensive overview is complemented with a selection of texts from the Serpentine original exhibition catalogue ― essays by John Akomfrah, Tina M. Campt, Ernest Hardy and Fred Moten, and a couple of Jafa’s writings ― as well as a conversation between Jafa and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Published in association with the Serpentine Galleries, London

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