What I Am is the second exhibition based on the EDP Foundation Art Collection at MAAT, part of a cycle presenting thematic perspectives of significant works of Portuguese contemporary art. This new selection of works invites visitors into the life and work of the artists, revealing the most intimate and least known spaces of the creative process and showing how objective and subjective worlds contaminate art. We thus point at themes inherent to the complementary and paradoxical relationship between the definition of the autobiographical self and of identity, the connections between paths taken in life and in art, as well as ideas of art, life and their various intersections. Adopting the title of a poem by Teixeira de Pascoaes (1877–1952), the exhibition presents new readings of the autobiographical and self-referential dimensions of artistic creation, reflecting on both the here and now and the resonances that result from the historic relationship between art and life.
What I Am presents a selection of more than 40 works, organised in permeable groupings. Some of the works brought together here show the staging of the artist’s body and performances for the camera, in a seductive and ambitious game that switches between reality and fiction, exploring relationships between perception, identity and self-representation. Other works confirm the interdependence between the construction of the self and the autobiographical memory: family albums, visual diaries and records of daily city or studio life are used to construct narratives and fictions, told and experienced in the first person. And yet other works reveal an oneiric dimension and an unconscious rooted in a singular vocabulary, combining the visible and the invisible, the universal and the particular. Here we find stories of reinvented worlds, autobiographies contaminated by fiction and vice versa, echoes of childhood and the banality of the everyday as a terrain sowed for aesthetic and artistic experiences.
Álvaro Rosendo, António Olaio, António Sena, Carlos Nogueira, Cristina Terra da Motta, Graça Sarsfield, Helena Almeida, Horácio Frutuoso, João Pedro Vale, Jorge Molder, José Barrias, Lourdes Castro, Luísa Cunha, Maria Beatriz, Margarida Gouveia, Mauro Cerqueira, Priscila Fernandes, São Trindade, Sara Bichão, Tânia Simões, among others.