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Each film is a letter written by a thousand hands was the motto established by the filmmaker Pedro Costa for the Company exhibition.

The Site: Serralves Museum, in Porto, by Álvaro Siza Vieira.

The Program: a gathering of works by living and dead artists – filmmakers, photographers, painters, sculptors and poets – directly related to Pedro Costa's cinema or that have accompanied his life and work.

The exhibition's architecture was born from this apparent paradox – bringing the darkness of cinema to a museum whose architecture is particularly intense and the natural light is predominant.

In the first place, it was a matter of finding the right color – the darkest yellow there is – to cover all the new and existing walls, at the height of the museum windows (3.50m), leaving most of the marble and oak wood floors, as well as the original white ceilings and the famous “upside down tables” in the shadow.

Once the color was defined, the museum space was reorganized, designing a place for each work and establishing the right connections between them, like a house with many rooms, very different from each other, inhabited differently and in company.

The transformation of the museum's space was profound, but it never went through the denial of its architecture. It was a work of continuity, but never submissive. To the existing perennial melody, an ephemeral one was added, with a different movement, but always taking the other into account, so that a new piece could emerge from the combination of both.

The skylights that characterize the museum were projected in plan to create new rooms and ambulatories; antechambers were built for existing rooms; existing routes were highlighted with new walls, corridors, dead ends, crossings.

Three of the existing windows were left open, strongly marking the exhibition route: the reentrant window on the upper floor; the tall, narrow window that splendidly frames the view of the garden in front of the museum's stairs; the huge windows that open to the patio on the lower level. There is no darkness without light.

Excerpts from thirty films, running simultaneously in small gaps made in the walls, were distributed throughout the spaces as a kind of binder for this polyphonic meeting.

The only space in which it was possible to forget that we were in the Serralves Museum was designed as an archetypal space - a hypostyle room - preceding the final space of the exhibition route: a movie theater.

We wanted this exhibition to have, moreover, the ability to remind us that cinema is an art of space, as well as to underline, at every step, the fact that architecture, like cinema, is always also made by many hands.

Works by:

Pedro Costa, Max Beckmann, Maria Capelo, Rui Chafes, António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro, Robert Desnos, Richard Dumas, Walker Evans and James Agee, Thomas Gainsborough, T. Géricault, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Josef Koudelka, Marta Mateus, Picasso, João Queiroz, Andy Rector, Orlando Ribeiro, Jacob Riis, André Salgueiro Martins, Paulo Nozolino, Andrea del Sarto, Karl Schwiesig, Mariana Viegas, Jeff Wall


Films by:

Pedro Costa, Frank Borzage, Robert Bresson, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Cocteau, Edward Dmytryk, Alexander Dovzhenko, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Grigori Aleksandrov e Sergei Eisenstein, John Ford, D. W. Griffith, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch, Kenji Mizoguchi, F. W. Murnau, Yasujiro Ozu, Alain Resnais, Roberto Rossellini, Erich von Stroheim, Jacques Tourneur



Exhibition coordination: Filipa Loureiro and Marta Almeida with the collaboration of Marta Mateus and Nuno Crespo

Design Team:

Architecture: José Neves

Collaborators: Inês Oliveira, Sara Brandão, Rita Dourado, Diogo Amaro, Carlos Almada


MARMELEIRA, José, José Neves: Quando a Arquitectura Faz Filmesin Jornal Público - Ípsilon, 21 Dezembro 2018, pp. 4, 13-17

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