MNAC

entry: General Conditions

Battle of Shadows

Portuguese photography of the 50's

2009-03-07
2009-06-14
Curatorship: Emília Tavares

The Museum began to collect photographs in 1999 with the Fernando Lemos photographic works donation by A. T. Kearney, Portugal. 

Continuing this policy of updating the collections, a series of photographic works representing the dynamics of Portuguese photography throughout the decade of 1950, a particularly interesting but poorly studied period in its history, have been incorporated in the collection through acquisitions and donations. 

The Portuguese photograph of this period, reflect in a unique way the aesthetic conflict then lived, which can only be read and understood together and in the intersection with all other cultural, social and political areas of this time. 

The "Battle of Shadows" this images evoke is the impact of a society increasingly polarized between the perpetuation of an illusion and disappoint, producing images overshadowed by a photographic and artistic culture slight discussed, ignoring each other, and where each image is the expression of a dilemma between the "art for the art" and the (im)possible disruption in favour of an art of social involvement and humanist dimension. 

More than a battle between tradition and innovation there is an ambivalence between representation and presentation, technique and inspiration, high and low culture, aesthetics and ethics, art and ideology. In the 50's, all the discrepancies and inconsistencies are a reflection of an interrogative relationship, though often unconscious, of the photographic object against the various aesthetic understanding of Portuguese culture, and its history. 

The authors and works presented in this exhibition cover a wide range of issues, from amateur photography, (in the circuit of the Salons) and photo-clubs, covering the production of unpublished authors, the amateurs' anti-Salon " , the photography in the context of neo-realist and surreal movements as well as the illustrative and documental vocation of the photographic subject. 

The presentation of this collection of photographs of the National Museum of Contemporary Art – Chiado Museum, is based on a critical issue of all this diversity, allowing the observation of multiple rhythms in their articulation and a raising debate underlying photographic subject, of widespread and updated interest, nationally and internationally. 

Curator: Emília Tavares 

Authors presented: Carlos Calvet, Gérard Castello-Lopes, Adelino Lyon de Castro, Frederico Pinheiro Chagas, Carlos Afonso Dias, Franklin Figueiredo, Fernando Lemos, João Martins, António Paixão, Victor Palla, Varela Pécurto Eduardo Harrington Sena, Sena da Silva, Fernando Taborda. 

Number of works: 78 

Diverse documentation: magazines, catalogs, manuscripts, diplomas, etc