Three months ago I was on a residence in Coimbra, Portugal. I was there to do an exhibition with my drawings of portuguese houses, some of which I had made in Lisbon in 2015, and some of which I made in Coimbra while I was there.
This is my third and last post about my stay. The first post I did was about my stay in general, my drawings and the exhibition, the second post was about my visit to Jardim Botânico (the botanical garden), and here in this post I want to tell you about a beautiful exhibition that I was lucky to visit at O Centro de Artes Visuais (The Center for Visual Arts), also called CAV. The title of the exhibition was O Coração da Ciência (The Heart of Science), and I went to see it on the opening night.
It was one of my first days in the city, and I actually didn’t even know that CAV existed, but by a spontaneous coincidence I ended up here, because one of my new, portuguese friends, who was showing me around the city, had helped setting up the exhibition. I had no idea what I was about to see, and didn’t have time to get any high expectations either – but I got happy to see that the exhibition was both fascinating and beautiful. CAV is one of the most beautiful exhibition spaces I have ever visited!
The exhibition was curated by Albano Silva Pereira (who is also the man behind CAV), a man that I have been told is a passionate art lover, especially interested in photography, and who has, among other things, organized several photography festivals in Coimbra, bringing international artists to the city.
The exhibition consisted of a collection of photographs and objects. The photographs all came from a collection at the Science Museum in Coimbra, where they were exhibited for the first time. This time at CAV the photographs are not standing alone, but are now accompanied by stuffed birds, skeletons, fossils and other objects from the Science Museum, some of which are even the same as in the photographs and this meta-like experience makes you look one more time, simply because it is just… fascinating!
The photographs and the objects were blending in with each other in the most beautiful way, and it made me think of the connection between art and science; science is based on knowledge, whereas art can grow from pure imagination – but still an artist can be as much of an explorer of the world as a scientist, and a scientist sometimes has to be as creative as an artist, to be able to come up with the best results. And also, to visit a science- or natural history museum can be as much of an artistic experience as going to an art museum – the sense of aesthetics and the curiosity towards the world also connects the scientist and the artist. This exhibition moves between these two disciplines, and shows exactly why they are so inseparable.
O Coração da Ciência was one of those exhibitions that you could not finish in one visit – not because of the amount of exhibited works and objects, but because each of the works had such high quality. I went through the exhibition halls several times, and I also returned a second time before I left Coimbra, to be sure that I had seen it all.
The building that houses CAV is also an experience worth in itself. The architecture and location of CAV is amazing, and just to be outside in the yard is enriching. I was told that the building was build as a jesuit school, and even though I do not know the exact year of the construction – it is obviously built many years ago – the whole place is filled with a historical atmosphere.
In the yard you also find an installation by Pedro Cabrita Reis. In the beginning I had very mixed feelings about it – I actually thought that it was a little ugly, but in its own charming way, it actually adds something beautiful to the place; some edge to the otherwise perfect architecture, and that is despite the fact that it actually does not show itself in the way it was meant to be. (I was told that it had gotten worn by the weather, and that it was also meant to be lit up in the evening. I wish I could have seen that, because I imagine that it would have been an amazing sight).
O Coração da Ciência is now closed, and the many objects are back at the Science Museum. I really want to say thank you to CAV for setting up such a beautiful exhibition, and I hope that I will one day get the chance to return and see a new amazing exhibition.
Puk Ewdokia (f. 1991) er kunstner og illustrator. Puk har bidraget til idoart.dk siden 2014.