Together with colleagues at the Municipal Galleries in Lisbon we started last year to overhaul our web site. A group of three gallery assistants started to research and prepare material from our archive and current exhibitions for an online Jornal that will be part of Galerias Municipais new bilingual homepage. These efforts allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the Galleries’ exhibition history as well as share ideas, documents, critical texts or interviews with our publics.
Shortly after the novel coronavirus forced exhibition spaces like ours to close, plenty of activity shifted towards online platforms. Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca suggested screening their film Estás vendo coisas (2017) from the eponymous exhibition at Galeria Boavista online for week. In anticipation of his upcoming exhibition at Galeria da Av. da Índia, Kiluanji Kia Henda currently presents his film Havemos de Voltar (2017) online for a week. Astrid Korporaal kindly agreed to let us translate her introduction, which was originally commissioned by Vdrome. I penned an introduction for Lisbon based Pedro Neves Marques’ screening of Semente Exterminadora (also 2017), which we hosted the previous week together with the Curtas Vila do Conde - International Film Festival.
We also commissioned visual essays for social media. A series of photographic couplets made available by Andrew de Freitas toyed with the idea of inside/outside perspectives right at the beginning of the quarantine. common room reflected upon their 2019 Lisbon visit and relayed some ideas via Instagram, which also served them as a tool to understand possibilities for a future newspaper and exhibition. A planned concert by DJane King Kami for the public program of Estás vendo coisas will now take place online and be archived via podcast.
We believe it is important to continue nurturing our online presence as part of our public program, as we maintain contact with our audiences and reach publics with difficulties accessing our exhibitions and events otherwise. At the Municipal Galleries in Lisbon we are excited to develop further collaborations with artists and partner institutions and above all look forward to artistic ideas that connect the physical presence of exhibitions at our five galleries with the virtual sphere.
Tobi Maier is the director of Lisbon’s Municipal Galleries