12 June 2018

Off on holiday! The SCHIRN MAG has explored the most beautiful destinations, hunting for exhibitions worth visiting, the best photo opportunity or the only authentic Pastéis de nata. Which you will of course only find in Lisbon.

By Elisabeth Pallentin
1. Tris Vonna-Michell at Francisco Fino Gallery

The Francisco Fino Gallery is in Marvila, some way from the city center but nevertheless worth a visit. It was only last year that the young Portuguese opened his own gallery here after having held exhibitions in both commercial and institutional contexts in Lisbon. Currently on display are works by British artist Tris Vonna-Michell, who presented his work at the Schirn last September as part of the Double Feature series. With “Material Longevities” he draws on his relationship with technology, narration and the longevity that appears particularly fragile in almost all his works, as in his spoken word performances, in photochemical processes, and in projections and installations. The gallery’s basement is home to the non-profit space known as Belo Campo, managed by artist Adrien Missika. Here David Horvitz is showing sounds of the sea transcribed onto paper, and is inviting visitors to reproduce them for themselves. Both exhibitions will run until July 28, 2018.

Tris Vonna-Michell, Material Longevities, 2018, Image via Francisco Fino
2. “Estudos do Labirinto” in Belém, various locations

This project, which was initiated by the Casinfância collective, examines artistic creativity that is closely intertwined with various disciplines and themes – ethnology, botany, the sea or astronomy – and places the works in each of their relevant contexts. Hence, up until September 16, contemporary art can be found at various locations in Belém: at the Museu Nacional de Etnologia (Francisco Tropa and Teresa Carepo), at the Jardim Botânico Tropical (Armanda Duarte and Nuno Vicente), at the Museu de Marinha (Ana Santos and Belén Uriel), and – my personal highlight – at the Planetário Calouste Gulbenkian (Pedro Paiva and João Maria Gusmão). More information on the project can be found on the website of Casinfância.

Image via Um Pastel em Belém
3. „Um pastel de nata, por favor!“

In Chiado I generally make a brief stop at Manteigaria on Praça Luís de Camões for one (or sometimes perhaps two) of the famous Portuguese pastries. Each day, until late in the night, a bell sounds here at regular intervals, signaling that the pastéis de nata are emerging fresh from the oven. The nicest atmosphere in which to bite into these little custard tarts is amid the marble, gold and flowery tiles of the Pastelaria São Roque in Príncipe Real, although the best pastel de nata I’ve ever eaten was in one of the restaurants of Michelin-starred chef José Avillez, the Café Lisboa. And it cost just 1.25 euros.

Pastelaria São Roque in Príncipe Real, Image via panifsroque.pt
4. Sol Calero at Kunsthalle Lissabon

The institution’s German name is essentially a “fake hoax,” whereby the founders, Luis Silva and João Mourão, are making a playful reference to how difficult it is to adopt and maintain a critical approach towards and inside institutions. As an alternative to traditional, established art institutions, Kunsthalle Lissabon presents artists with whom the founders develop projects jointly and thus, generally over the long term, create close relationships. The Venezuelan artist Sol Calero is showing new works here until August 25. With “Tente en el aire” she further develops her idea of the souvenir as representation of Latin-American identity and positions this in relation to painting.

Sol Calero at Kunsthalle Lissabon, Photo: Elisabeth Pallentin
5. André Romão at Galeria Vera Cortês

The Galeria Vera Cortês is always worth a visit – particularly before June 30 to catch the “fruits and flowers” exhibition by Lisbon-born artist André Romão. His new works adopt a fluid state between human and animal bodies. Some of the sculptures comprise hybrid forms, which blur the boundaries between inside and out, between man and the environment, and are based on the scale of the human body. This is continued on the walls of the gallery by means of four poems composed in the traditional lyrical form of Japanese haikus, the individual verses of which last just one breath.

André Romão at Galeria Vera Cortês, Photo: Elisabeth Pallentin
6. Jardim do Torel

“Miradouros” (viewpoints) can be found throughout the city. After all, Lisbon is built on seven hills and spectacular views can be found almost everywhere. If I ever need a bit of peace and quiet, I head to the Miradouro do Jardim do Torel. Alongside a small park, it has a café with comfortable seating, from which you can savor the view of the city center.

Jardim do Torel, Image via Wikicommons
7. Crossing to Almada

For a complete change of perspective on Lisbon, I love taking the ferry from Cais do Sodré station to Almada on the opposite bank of the Tejo. Once you get there, you walk along the water towards the west, passing old buildings and ruins, always with the glittering city in sight and eventually arriving at the Restaurant Ponto Final or the neighboring Atira-te ao Rio as a perfect spot for refreshment.

Restaurante Ponto Final, Photo: Elisabeth Pallentin
8. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

You can get lost in this museum! Located between my absolute favorite place in the city, the Largo Dr. José Figueiredo, and the Tejo, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is the perfect destination to spend the whole day wandering through galleries marveling at old paintings, sculptures spanning seven centuries, and crockery and other exhibition items made of glass, ceramics and gold, or casting a critical eye over the collection of art from Portuguese discoveries. If you need a break, you can enjoy a galão, a Portuguese coffee with milk, completed with a view of the Tejo from the museum’s sculpture garden.

The garden of the Museo Nacional de Arte Antiga, Photo: Elisabeth Pallentin
9. Galeria Zé dos Bois

The ZDB is now an integral part of the Bairro Alto, one of Lisbon’s oldest districts. This non-profit cultural center has been operating as a production workshop of contemporary art since 1994. Alongside exhibitions, the gallery’s multiple floors host educational programs, theater and dance performances, concerts and lectures. Perusing the calendar of events is always worthwhile. Works by the Portuguese painter Jorge Queiroz will be on display until September 1.

ZDB, Image via The Grid
10. Damas

Damas is the place to meet for eating, drinking, dancing – in short, to have a good time. During the day, the former bakery in the Graça district is a restaurant and café at the same time. Fantastic dishes, including vegetarian options, are served up here, and in the evening the venue transforms into a bar and club. So why leave when you can stay?

Photo: Jorge Matreno, Image via DC.AD