An Homage to the Literary City

Thirty-six works by Spanish artists, dedicated to interpreting and paying tribute to Fernando Pessoa and the Portuguese capital’s literary fascination, have arrived at the heart of Lisbon. From September 15 to November 15, the paintings will be on display at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, freely accessible on floor 0, as well as at Mensagem – Restaurante & Bar Panorâmico.

The exhibited pieces explore both the intimate connection between Pessoa and Lisbon and the intrinsic poetry of the Lusitanian capital, viewed as a literary city. Cosmopolitan spaces such as the literary cafes, hotels, and streets of the Chiado area are represented in some of these works through a plurality of viewpoints that suggest various readings about Pessoa, Lisbon, and the concept of travel.

From Spain to Lisboa Pessoa Hotel

Some of the paintings were made especially for this exhibit, while others were produced for the “Lisbon, Tangier, Trieste, and Other Literary Cities” exhibit organized in Madrid in 2018 by the Sefarad-Israel Center and curated by Fernando Castillo. The curator referred to the artists called upon as having a “common figurative vocation, though of different styles and inspirations, that also has a striking literary inclination reflected in their works.” Works where “an interest in cinema, photography, architecture” is equally noticeable, which most of these authors are not unfamiliar with.

These pieces arrived at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel thanks to efforts by the aforementioned Center and  Tourism of Portugal, as the Hotel endeavors to establish itself as a meeting place to dialogue about the arts, sensibilities, and cultures. In this way, it broadens and challenges common concepts of tourism and hospitality through its proposal focused on the special biographical, literary, and symbolic connection between Lisbon and its most famous poet, Fernando Pessoa, to whom the Hotel is dedicated.

All the Dreams of the World

The plural character of this exhibit indirectly recalls the esthetic plurality of Fernando Pessoa’s own work, personified in the creative explosion of his most well-known heteronyms Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos, and Ricardo Reis. There are thematic floors in their honor at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, without forgetting the semi-heteronym, Bernardo Soares, to whom one of the rooms hosting the exhibit is dedicated.

The exhibit was inaugurated on September 15, 2018, Lisboa Pessoa Hotel’s second anniversary. The event paid tribute to the famous verse of the poem “Tobacco Shop” by Álvaro de Campos, where we read: “I have in me all the dreams of the world.” In a literary gathering on this occasion, the works in the “Lisbon and Pessoa by Ten Spanish Artists” exhibit were read and discussed from the perspective of the ideas on dreams and cosmopolitanism that conduct Pessoa’s work and thinking.

The artists who produced the works for the “Lisbon and Pessoa by Ten Spanish Artists” exhibit are Alberto Gálvez, Alvar Haro, Antonio Mateos, Antonio Rojas, Concha Gomez-Acebo, Damián Flores, Illan Argüello, Joaquín Millán, Javier F. Lizán, and Mariana Laín. Given the artists’ nationality, it is opportune to remember that Pessoa himself had devoted pages exactly one century ago, between 1916 and 1918, reflecting on the need for and the great value of proximity among cultures and artists of Portugal and Spain.