CURATED BY EMILY KING
The multiple-venue exhibition ‘Sidelines’ will place a number of private collections, sourced both locally and internationally, within a selection of Lisbon’s numerous small museums and institutions. That the city has an unusually large number of such places is a legacy of its long history as a center of trade and exploration. Amassing and arranging their possessions since Roman times, in the era after the 1755 earthquake Lisbon’s citizens began to put their holdings on display. These days the city’s collections encompass everything from stone-age flints to exquisitely painted pottery and religious artifacts to the tools of hard science.
The route of ‘Sidelines’ will run from Museu Geológico in the west to the Museu das Artes Decorativas in the east, passing by the Museu da Farmácia, the Biblioteca Municipal Camões, Museu São Roque and the Museu do Teatro Romano. Echoing the variety of these institutions, the collections will come from a range of sources, including curators, artists, designers, writers, children and animals. They will include an obsessively acquired holding of album covers, a long-hoarded stock of magazines, a treasured store of nail polish and a meticulously hounded down set of sticks. The process of pairing collections and institutions has revolved around the equal necessities of building an argument, taking visitors to some of Lisbon’s most interesting spots and creating a pleasurable route.
Polemic, pragmatism and poetics have all come into play. Representing the perfect alignment of these values, the itinerary of ‘Sidelines’ follows that of Lisbon’s celebrated No. 28 tram.
As well as allowing visitors to savour unlikely juxtapositions, ‘Sidelines’ will raise questions about value and use in relation to collecting. Curiosity and obsession, pedagogy and vanity, the will to preserve and the fear of loss: the forces that drive collectors are numerous and complex. Similarly, when private hoarders go public and donate their possessions to museums, or even start institutions of their own, their motives are likely to be multiple and ambiguous. Generally, while education and the writing of history are viewed as worthy, useful goals, the compulsion and competitiveness common among collectors are seen in a less positive light. In truth, however, variations on these impulses coexist within most individual collectors and collecting bodies. Significantly the exhibition will explore the way in which the spirit of collections tends to change over time, as objects that were once seen as worthless become pricey and the trash of one era is transformed into the treasures of the next.
Visitors will be able to follow the route of ‘Sidelines’ on a especially designed map, which, as well, as showing the exhibition venues will mark other spots of interest including other institutions and certain shops, bars and cafes along the way.
— Emily King
Curator Emily King
Richard Wentworth/ In partnership with
British Council/ Graphic Design
Sílvia Prudêncio/ Collectors David Pearson
, Dinos Chapman, Tiphaine de Lussy, the owners of Snoopy the dog; Gregor Muir; Holly Brooks; Nicolas Trembley; Pedro Rodrigues; Susana Pomba/
Photo: © 2011, EXD'11/ Rodrigo Peixoto