The Journey of Imagination

The Journey of Imagination

Arte Institute, with the sponsorship of Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD), is pleased to present “The Journey of Imagination” a installation by visual artist Nuno Vasa, Manuela Pimentel and Alexandre Farto (Vhils) at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Just as the famed Portuguese writer and poet Fernando Pessoa (1888– 1935) was inspired by his beloved city of Lisbon, artists and writers continue to be influenced by the ongoing transformation of urban environments and street life. To showcase the evolution of this influence, three visionary contemporary Portuguese artists are given the opportunity to honor the literary arts in their own journey of inspiration.

Prazeres 28
Cork Cable Car by Nuno Vasa

The Arte Institute challenged the fine artist and designer, Nuno Vasa, to create an actual size cork tram, to symbolize the power of books and literature in transporting us in the journeys of our imagination, while simultaneously alluding to Lisbon and Fernando Pessoa. The tram conveys Fernando Pessoa’s message which has been used as the Arte Institute’s motto since the beginning…and that is that “the man is the size of his dream”. With this installation, the Arte Institute also intends to show the American public a way of employing traditional Portuguese materials, such as cork. Here this is demonstrated by giving it a modern and contemporary usage.
The creation of this installation had the support of Sofalca, which donated all the cork, as well as TNT.

“If I could sink my teeth into the whole earth” by Manuela Pimentel

The tram will be at its station, which is also in cork, where works by the artist Manuela Pimentel will be exhibited. The artist works with Azulejos (painted, tin-glazed tiles) in a contemporary way. One of her pieces entitled “If I could sink my teeth into the whole earth”, was inspired in one of Fernando Pessoa ́s poem. It is composed of six panels connected to the Portuguese tiles, telling the story and influence of Portugal in the world.
On the 
other side of the station, the piece “Go and Return” will be exhibited.
Manuela Pimentel also has an installation entitled “Walls that tell stories” where we can listen to Fernando Pessoa’s poems, from the book Lisbon Disquiet, selected and edited by Jerónimo Pizarro, translated by Margaret Jull Costa and read by Denise Costa.


Nuno Vasa 
was born in Torres Vedras (Portugal) in 1974. Graduated in sculpture by Escola Universitária das Artes de Coimbra (A.R.C.A – U.E.A.C), he completes his studies in London at Chelsea College of Art & Design. In 2005 he is granted with a scholarship and prize Casa Velázquez (Madrid), city where he represents Portugal in the XIII Estampa. In 2006 he integrates the showcase Contemporary Portugal presented at Vartai Gallery (Lithuania). Among his main projects are Home (Col. IVAM – Institute of Modern Art, Valência), Kiss Me With Red Lips And’ll Never Be the Same (Casa de Velázquez, Madrid) or Possible Dinner (Odminiu Square, Vilnius – European capital of Culture 2009). 
His work explores sculpture, video, installation, and recently, product design, category in which he obtained the prize “POPs” Original Portuguese Projects of Serralves Foundation (2012). He’s represented in several public and private collections: Museum of Contemporary Art in Elvas – Collection António Cachola; Art Center ‘Dos de Mayo’ in Madrid (CA2M). In 2012 he’s invited to represent Portugal in the III BID – Iberoamerican Design Biennial. In 2014 he takes part in the exhibition, “Como se pronuncia design em Português? 1980 – 2014”, MUDE Lisboa. 

Manuela Pimentel pays tribute to the rich tradition of Portugal’s Azulejo (painted, tin-glazed tile work) by creating her own—not from ceramics, but from layers of paper, posters, and messages coated with resin. She has said her work is “based on the stories that I have created from that which I see on the walls in the street or, in other words, that which the street passes onto me.” The stories she finds are the phrases, stencils, and drawings she reconstructs on walls and canvas. For the festival, Pimentel has created the installation Se eu pudesse trincar a terra toda (“If I could sink my teeth into the whole earth”). She has also used her technique to build a “poetry box” where audiences can listen to recordings of writings from the Iberian literary sphere read aloud in Portuguese and English.

This installation had the support of Sofalca, which donated all the cork, and TNT.

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