Traç/zo 16 – an Iberian affair #1

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The Graça Fort is a unique military architecture structure, built in the second half of the 18th century, under the Count of Lippe, as a means to secure the highest ground in the region, just north of the town. The strategic relevance of the Graça hill, where the fort was built, became evident about a century before, during the Restoration War, when the Spanish army bombarded the town of Elvas from the vantage point, some 60 meters above the town’s castle. Its ramparts, moats and bastions are organized according to the star fort dutch model.

Forte da Graça é uma peça de arquitectura militar única, construida na segunda metade do séc. XVIII, sob as ordens do Conde de Lippe, por necessidade de segurar o ponto mais alto da região, a norte da cidade. A importância estratégica do Monte da Graça, onde foi construido o Forte, tornou-se clara cerca de um século antes, durante a Guerra da Restauração, quando o exército Espanhol, a partir deste ponto sobranceiro, bombardeou a cidade de Elvas, cujo castelo se encontra a cerca de 60 metros abaixo do topo do monte. As suas muralhas, fossos e baluartes estão organizados de acordo com o modelo holandês de fortificação em estrela.

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This was the setting for Traço ’16 – Elvas Drawing Festival, which during four days liven up the old fortress with exhibitions by illustrators and comic book artists from both sides of the Iberian border, drawing workshops, lectures, a theatrical performance and a national Urban Sketchers meeting.

Este foi o cenário do Traço ’16 – Festival de Desenho de Elvas, que durante quatro dias animou a velha fortaleza com exposições de ilustradores e autores de banda desenhada de ambos os lados da fronteira Ibérica, oficinas de desenho, palestras, uma performance teatral e um encontro nacional de Urban Sketchers.

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Road to the USk Symposium #2

USk Manchester Symposium day -3 / Simpósio USk em Manchester dia -3

No trains run between Edge Hill and Lime Street on Sunday, but the walk is a mere half an hour long. Walking besides the University of Liverpool grounds, one ends up straight in the Walker Art Gallery, a free access museum with a varied collection of paintings from the middle ages onward to the early 20th century. With many apologies to art scholars everywhere, I must confess that my favorite thing about ancient art museums is searching for weird stories for the characters in the paintings. For instance, this Italian hipster from the 16th century, wondering whether the wine is fair-trade.

Não há comboios entre Edge Hill e Lime Street aos domingos, mas a caminhada para o centro demora apenas meia hora. Caminhando ao lado dos edifícios da Universidade de Liverpool, acaba-se na Walker Art Gallery, um museu de livre acesso, com uma colecção variada de pinturas desde a idade média até ao princípio do séc. XX. Com muitas desculpas aos estudiosos de arte, devo confessar que a minha coisa favorita de se fazer nos museus de arte antiga é associar histórias estranhas às personagens estranhas dos quadros. Por exemplo, este hipster italiano do séc. XVI, interrogando-se sobre se o vinho é de comércio justo.

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Many more of these guys in the next post. I hope you have as much fun as I do in finding these stories.

Virão mais destes amigalhaços no próximo post. Espero que se divirtam tanto como eu a encontrar estas histórias.

In Liverpool’s small Chinatown, The Baglery had the perfect snack for me: a poppy seed bagel gloriously filled with tomato beef, sauerkraut, melted cheese, a portobello mushroom and a perfectly poached egg, with an excellent Kenyan coffee (I’ve become the guy in the picture above, I fear).

Na pequena Chinatown de Liverpool, The Baglery tinha o petisco de tarde perfeito para mim: um bagel de sementes de papoila gloriosamente recheado de tomate fresco, sauerkraut, queijo fundido, um cogumelo portobello e um ovo escalfado na perfeição, com um excelente café Queniano (temo ter-me tornado no tipo da pintura acima).

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Along the modernized Liverpool’s waterfront, in the Albert Dock – an interesting watery plaza concept – sits the Tate, where there was an exhibition of the Liverpool Biennial, related to Ancient Greece and the Neoclassical interpretations on which the city was built. Part of the exhibition was nothing but ancient greek objects and sculptures from other art and history museums, with a small factual text describing what the object or the character were, or what did they represent in Classical Greece. It was interesting to see how these objects, taken out of their usual context, get much more attention, and from a different audience, than they would in their original exhibitions. It’s art communication, not art. But interestingly effective.

Ao longo da frente ribeirinha modernizada de Liverpool, na Albert Dock – um conceito de praça líquida interessante – fica a Tate, onde havia uma exposição da Bienal de Liverpool, relacionada com a Antiga Grécia e as interpretações neoclássicas sobre as quais foi erguida grande parte da cidade. Parte da exposição era senão um conjunto de objectos e esculturas gregos provenientes de outros museus de arte e história, acompanhados por um pequeno texto factual, descrevendo o que cada objecto ou cada personagem era ou representava na Grécia Clássica. Foi interessante ver como estes objectos, retirados do seu context habitual, atraem muito mais atenção, e de um público diferente, do que fariam integrados nas suas exposições originais. É comunicação de arte, não é arte. Mas é interessantemente eficaz.

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Everything in Liverpool is at close walkable range. Still, one can easily feel the different areas of the town, from one street to another. Only one thing is truly ubiquitous here: the distinct smell of frying that lingers everywhere.

Tudo em Liverpool é a uma distância caminhável. Ainda assim, consegue sentir-se as diferentes zonas da cidade, de rua para rua. Apenas uma coisa está sempre presente: o distinto cheiro a fritos por toda a parte.

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Bué da Fish

Bue da Fish, Nuno Saraiva, workshop, oficina, Lisboa, Portugal, São Paulo, peixe

The odd name chosen for the sketching workshop held last week at Giv Lowe gallery, in the bowels of Lisboa, has to do with the crossover between pop culture and popular traditions that illustrator and comic book artist Nuno Saraiva so often portrays in his work.

O estranho nome da oficina de desenho dada na semana passada na galeria Giv Lowe, nas entranhas de Lisboa, teve a ver com o cruzamento entre cultura pop e tradições populares em que o ilustrador e autor de banda desenhada Nuno Saraiva tão frequentemente retrata no seu trabalho.

Bue da Fish, Nuno Saraiva, workshop, oficina, Lisboa, Portugal, São Paulo, peixe

The June Lisboa festivities gave him the inspiration for the theme of the workshop, and the model posing for us interpreted the character beautifully, with her traditional Lisboner fishmonger costume.

As Festas de Lisboa deram-lhe a inspiração para o tema da oficina, e a modelo que posava para nós interpretava a personagem de uma forma espantosa, com a ajuda do seu traje de peixeira Lisboeta.

Bue da Fish, Nuno Saraiva, workshop, oficina, Lisboa, Portugal, São Paulo, peixe

There were but a bunch of us sketching the semi-burlesque Gogo Lolita. In the end, Nuno pitched the idea that our sketches joined his own in the exhibition that surrounded us in the very gallery where the workshop was held. His exhibition shows large prints, side-by-side with the originals, of the beautiful illustrations that decorated the city during and well after June’s festivities.

Eramos apenas um punhado de gente, desenhando a semi-burlesca Gogo Lolita. No final, o Nuno lançou a ideia dos nossos desenhos integrarem a sua própria exposição, da qual estavamos rodeados durante a oficina. A exposição exibia grandes serigrafias, lado-a-lado com os desenhos originais, das belas ilustrações que decoraram a cidade durante e depois das Festas de Lisboa.

Bue da Fish, Nuno Saraiva, workshop, oficina, Lisboa, Portugal, São Paulo, peixe

Even though we’re just hours away, I invite you all to show up at 7pm, at Giv Lowe, in Largo de São Paulo, for the finissage of Nuno Saraiva‘s exhibition. And, by the way, to take a peek of the sketches from the workshop.

Apesar de em cima da hora, estão todos convidados a aparecer hoje, às 19h00, na Giv Lowe, no Largo de São Paulo, para a finissage da exposição do Nuno Saraiva. E, já agora, para espreitar os desenhos que resultaram da sua oficina.

Desenho Cru – Raw sketching

tavern, mustard, mayonnaise, chili sauce, beer, art, studio, mirror

In 2012, Desenho Cru was created as a one-night monthly gathering of artists and performers, in the unusual stage of a gay bar in the heart of Lisboa. It was actually named after the bar. The drill is simple: the performers perform, and the artists sketch them. Creative spirits in both sides of the (imaginary) fence are free to deliver their own art in whatever form they feel is best.

Veronique, performer, performance, Desenho Cru, model, mirror

Now, the Desenho Cru sessions are held in a small studio in Martim Moniz, another heart of Lisboa – the multi-hearted city. I attended my first Desenho cru in the beginning of february, weeks after coming back to Lisboa. It’s a fantastic group experience, where concentration levels are high, but everything feels somewhat different from a regular sketch meeting.

Veronique, performer, performance, Desenho Cru, model, mirror

The intimacy of the moment is enhanced firstly by the narrowness of the space, where fifteen to twenty people elbowed each other for some arm movement space. If more were to come, they would have to sit on the floor.

Veronique, performer, performance, Desenho Cru, model, mirror, José Gomez, guitar, music

Secondly by the unusual nature of the performances – and those are entirely dependent on the performers themselves – it’s an artistic lottery. You get what they bring for you. First-time performer Veronique, tense at first, on account of the thirty-something eyeballs on her, finally let herself and some garments go, and played around with postures and the mirror she had leaned up against the wall. I’d say she managed quite well.

Desenho Cru, mirror, José Gomez, guitar, music

The andalucian José Gomez brought his guitar and some electronic equipment that, for some reason, started to fail him right in the middle of his act. The gadget recorded a sample that he would play, and then it would playback on a loop, while he added some more samples to the texture of the song. A one man band, fretted unfortunately by faulty equipment.

Revamping a manor in Lisboa

Four years ago, in my architecture office in Lisboa, we started to work on a restoration project of a historical building in the northern section of the city. The Bensaúde manor was built during the final years of the 19th century, surrounded by an estate in Paço do Lumiar, an old hamlet that was absorbed by the growth of the city. The manor has had a series of eminent proprietors and was designed and altered by some of the most notorious Portuguese architects of the 20th century.

Bensaúde Manor

It is presumed to have been designed initially by Ventura Terra, one of the most renown architects of the turn of the century. Then, in the twenties, Raul Lino intervened, expanding the house and laying out plans for great decorations on several rooms of the manor. Mural painings, painted ceilings, boiseries (panelling), azulejos (tile works), decorated fireplaces and wrought iron designs were added all over the manor. In the sixties, França Ribeiro designed the expansion of a façade, to make room for an extra compartment and a terrace.

In the more recent years, the manor has been under the guise of public institutions, presently IAPMEI, who mobilized efforts to see this built heritage renewed and used again. A great part of the preservation work is to keep a building occupied. The vigilance gained from having people daily interacting with a historical building is what can save it from deterioration.

Restoration in Bensaúde Manor

The preservation of Raul Lino’s paintings and tiling was a complex task of the project, and was assigned to a specialist crew who had to delicately redo some of the paintings, based on the ones that were intact, clean and refit the wall tiles, preserve the wrought iron works and repaint and polish the fireplaces.