Manuel Baptista — Drawings and Sculptures 1960-70
Exhibition design for Fundação EDP, with António Pedro Louro and Gonçalo Prudêncio
In February 2011, Fundação EDP | Museu da Electricidade presented “Fora de Escala” (out of scale) an exhibition that reveals the unknown work of Manuel Baptista.
Together with António Pedro Louro and Gonçalo Prudêncio we designed the exhibition layout and had the pleasure to work directly with the artist in the production of around 20 sculptures projected in the 60’s and 70’s and made today according to modern technologies.
The present exhibition is a rare historical opportunity: the presentation of projects created from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, but never built until now. We are facing a new kind of conceptual situation, which must be taken into consideration in historical terms.
Generally timeless everyday objects (envelopes, shirts with ties, tables…), elements taken from natural and/or landscaped settings (bushes, cliffs, flower bouquets) and certain objects with symbolic value (cocoons and balls of wool), make up the body of work shown here.
The display of some of Manuel Baptista’s notebooks allows us to follow the development of his visual thinking. And the fifty drawings dated from 1969 to 1974 (with a few later incursions up to 2005) illustrate the persistence of the subjects and the degree of transference and/or overlapping between sketches and projects, autonomous two-dimensional works and the finished sculptures.
In terms of subjects, materials (neon lights, aluminium, plywood, Plexiglas, ropes, fibreglass…)and unfit scales, Manuel Baptista’s pieces have affinities with the art of their time.
We must now try to understand Manuel Baptista’s sculpture in the drifting and plural historic context of our time, thus his sculptures will be able to recover the euphoric ambition, joyous humour and genuine happiness that attended their conception.
Lisbon, 31 january 2011
José Manuel dos Santos
Joana Simões Henriques
Exhibition Design and Sculptures’ Production Coordination
António Pedro Louro
Jorge Rodrigues (production assistant)
vivóeusébio – colectivo de design
Equipa do Museu da Electricidade