5 February 2018

Fernando Pessoa in the Museo Reina Sofía

On 7 February, the exhibition "Pessoa. All Art is a Form of Literature" opens at the Museo Reina Sofía, in Madrid.

“All art is a form of literature, because all art says something,” wrote Álvaro de Campos, one of Pessoa’s many heteronyms, in 1936, in presença, which was among the most influential Portuguese literary magazines of the 20th century. This is the source of the title of the exhibition that brings together around 160 works by various artists such as Almada Negreiros, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Adriano de Sousa Lopes, Mário Eloy, Julio (Saúl Dias) and Sonia Delaunay, among others, in an approach to the artistic period of Portuguese modernity, based on the aesthetic principles of Fernando Pessoa. Curated by João Fernandes, Deputy Director of the Museo Reina Sofía, and art historian Ana Ara, the exhibition includes 56 works from the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, in a coproduction between the Spanish and Portuguese institutions.

Based around three aesthetic concepts developed by the writer – “Paulism,” “Intersectionism” and “Sensationism” – the exhibition will bring together texts and works of painting, drawing, print and photography from the key aesthetic currents in Portugal over more than two decades (1914-1936). Among these works, special attention will be given to publications from the period, such as the pioneering Orpheu, A Águia, K4 Quadrado Azul, Portugal Futurista and presença, in which Pessoa’s texts were published, and which became important aesthetic and ideological influences for Portuguese artists and intellectuals during the first half of the 20th century. Part of the exhibition will also be devoted to the performing arts, incorporating noteworthy elements relating to the most interesting theatre and dance productions of the period, including some works by Almada Negreiros.

The selected works reflect the influence of the predominant trends in Europe, not forgetting the singularity of popular and Portuguese art, present in the work of Portuguese artists who travelled to Paris – as Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso did – and that of foreigners who visited Portugal, such as Sonia and Robert Delaunay. The final part of the exhibition introduces the period relating to Portugal’s “second modernity,” highlighting creators such as Mário Eloy, Julio and Sarah Affonso.

The exhibition opens to the public on 7 February and closes on 7 May. The Embassy of Portugal in Spain, in partnership with ICEP and Turismo de Portugal, will organise parallel activities including round tables and a cinema cycle.