desde . Serralves (2004)
Presented and produced by MUGATXOAN 2004 - Arteleku Gipuzkoako Foru Aldundia - Fundaçao Serralves
“desde” (from) means time and space: “from then… until now…” or “from here… to there…”.
“desde” is an artistic project with site-specific characteristics and the possibility of moving to places whose original use is transformed into art centres. It’s a project on the way on how we practise space on a daily scope, on the kind of relation that it developed between users and the surrounding architecture, on the connection between memories and the places.
Following a year of interviews carried out with a broad range of people who have been or are part of the building, “desde” is presented as a video installation in Serralves or an audio-guide (desde . Arteleku San Sebastian, 2004 and desde . La Laboral, Gijón, 2009).
Between a performance and a documentary, the audience has the chance to experience the spaces described in person. The discourse is developed using the field of memory and interpretation and the gaze of the audience is added to that of the interviewee, so creating an imaginary superposition of mental spaces.
Originally conceived as a private residence, the Serralves Villa and the surrounding Park were commissioned by the 2nd Count of Vizela, Carlos Alberto Cabral (1895−1968), on the grounds of his family’s former summer residence on the outskirts of Porto. Designed and constructed between 1925 and 1944, the Villa is considered the most notable example of an Art Deco building in Portugal.
Cabral and his wife Blanche Daubin moved into the Villa in 1944, living there for only a few years. The estate was sold in 1957 to Delfim Ferreira (1888−1960), the Count of Riba d´Ave, on the condition that the property would not be subject to any alteration, a restriction that was entirely respected. Most of its furniture was meanwhile sold at different auctions.
In 1987 the estate was purchased from the heirs of Delfim Ferreira by the Portuguese State as a site for a future museum of modern art. The Villa was opened to the public that same year as a site for temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art prior to the opening in 1999 of a new museum of contemporary art designed by the architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.
At present, the house is open to the public during the museum's opening hours. The occasional exhibition is still on show, and the house is also used as a space for meetings, dinners, conferences, and promotional product presentations.
Among those interviewed: the Count of Vizela's nephew, the Count's former gardener, artists who exhibited or danced in the house's rooms, and an exhibition invigilator.