In 2016, the Summer Guests initiative brought contemporary artists to the Gulbenkian Museum, at the time known as the Founder’s Collection, from 23 June to 3 October to propose new exhibition contexts that highlighted intersecting and unexpected relationships, and the formal or conceptual proximity of works from different periods.
The encounter between these works was established by the metonymic marking of a certain aspect (Asta Gröting and Francisco Tropa); the misleading citation (Miguel Branco, Miguel Palma and Pedro Cabral Santo); the evocation of a function or nature (Wiebke Siem and Patrícia Garrido); hyperbolic commentary (Wiebke Siem); formal drifting and resonance (Bela Silva, Yale Bartana, Rui Chafes, Diogo Pimentão); the archaeological question (Vasco Araújo); or the integration of a ‘permeable landscape and a suspended transformation’ in the furniture section (Susanne Themlitz).
Fernanda Fragateiro distributed sculptural interventions around some of the places in which the Summer Festival events took place in the Park, as well as others selected by the artist herself.
Fernanda Fragateiro’s work is frequently linked to an architectural foundation of drawing, construction, installation and marking of space.
Mirrors and, later, polished stainless steel appear in her work to strengthen certain qualities in it: highlighted passages between the two-dimensional planes of the image and the three-dimensionality of the place; virtual ‘screens’ that multiply it; sensory experiences of thermal and tactile change; the surprising interruption of right-angles and outlines by others that superimpose them; the aesthetic research also demanded by practical use.
The constructivist and minimalist references in her work have been mentioned by those who encounter it – the efficiency of the incision, the essential nature of her abstract choices, the sudden theatricality, sober yet vigorous, of what she proposes to us in public spaces.
The cement benches designed by Ribeiro Telles, in the Park since 1969, are, in this project, home to sheets of steel placed on the seats and sides. The artist selected ten of these benches, on a route leading from the Headquarters building to the picnic area, passing by the rose garden, through the pine trees in front of the CAM building and skirting the lake. This is a common route for those who stroll in the Park and the very place where they might have taken part in some of the events of the Summer Garden (23 June 2016 to 3 July 2016).
In these locations in the Gulbenkian Park, people become contemplative visitors invited to participate as committed observers – of the very recent historical past of this heritage, of the uncertain present that the changeable image on these polished surfaces reflects back to them, of nature and of artifice, of permanence and ephemerality.