Álvaro Lapa: All of Time at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal, February 8 – May 13, 2018

“The exhibition ‘Álvaro Lapa: All of Time’ will be the most comprehensive retrospective to date of the influential Portuguese artist Álvaro Lapa (Évora, 1939 – Porto, 2006). A writer and self-taught artist, Lapa was an influential Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Porto from 1976 until 2000, where he left an indelible mark on consecutive generations of artists, while also becoming a figure of reference in Portuguese art.

The exhibition at Serralves Museum brings together works from important museum and institutional collections and from private collections in Portugal, including the collections of artists, architects and writers who similarly defined the artistic and intellectual landscape in Portugal in the second half of the 20th century. Featuring over 200 works in painting and drawing from throughout the artist’s career brought together for the first time, the exhibition surveys Lapa’s remarkable contribution to contemporary art.

Álvaro Lapa remains among the most enigmatic artists in 20th century Portuguese art, with a body of work as relevant and alluring as it is defiantly elusive. Lapa bridged the disparate traditions of Portuguese painting – artisanal, figurative, abstract, and literary – through a sustained exploration of the territory of painting as text over four decades. The artist’s oeuvre revolves largely around the genres of landscape and portraiture, and often in the spaces between them. Lapa’s visual lexicon consists of narrative series of motifs encompassing the written word, fragments of language or snippets of conversation, as well as pictorial elements and abstracted self-portraits. Campésticos – a neologism invented by the artist that combines the Portuguese words for ‘countryside’ and ‘domestic’ – combines domestic space with the horizontality of landscape. Lapa’s work is also marked by an intense and sustained relation with literature, reflected in his series of paintings called ‘Notebooks’, dedicated to literary figures such as Homer and Rimbaud.” — Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art

Álvaro Lapa. Sem título (Untitled), 1969. Acrylic paint on chipboard, 59.9 x 82.5 cm. Coll. Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal. Photo by Filipe Braga

Álvaro Lapa. Instrução pessoal (Personal Instruction), 1969. Acrylic paint on chipboard, 59.8 x 85.3 cm. Coll. Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal. Photo by Filipe Braga

Álvaro Lapa. Sem título (Untitled), 1969. Acrylic paint on chipboard, 59.8 x 84 cm. Coll. Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal. Photo by Filipe Braga

Álvaro Lapa. Em que pensas? No tempo todo (What are you thinking about? The whole of time), 1979 – 1980. Pastel on paper mounted on canvas, 100 x 67 cm. Coll. Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal. Photo by Filipe Braga

Álvaro Lapa. Campéstico (Campesticus), 1986. Acrylic enamel on chipboard, 100 x 150 cm. Col. Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto. Photo by Filipe Braga

Álvaro Lapa. Caderno de Han Shan – O Inovador (The notebook of Han-Shan – The innovator). 1987. Acrylic enamel on chipboard, 69 x 164,5 cm. Col. Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto. Photo by Filipe Braga

Álvaro Lapa. Homer’s notebook, 2005. Acrylic paint on canvas, 123 x 174 cm. Coll. Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal. Photo by Filipe Braga

‘Álvaro Lapa: All of Time’ is organized by Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by guest curator Miguel von Hafe Pérez.

Images courtesy Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.