MODERNISM IN TAVIRA

MODERNISM IN TAVIRA 
photography exhibition  
Headquarters of A|NAFA (the photography association) 
SAT OCT.13 to FRI NOV.30 

                                                                                                           Exhibition of photographs of examples of modernist architecture in Tavira based on Isabel Macieira's research.  

... And I, the old one, walked up the street imagining a future sunflower. And I, the modern one, walked down the street not imagining anything...  In Realidade by Álvaro de Campos


Participants: Isabel Macieira, Plastic Artist and Master in the Histrory of Art

The Portuguese Association of Photographers (ANAFA)Project
...

Under the doleful light of the huge electric light bulbs of the factory 

I am feverish and I write.

I write grinding my teeth, ferociously facing this beauty,

A beauty totally unknown to our ancestors...

...

I sing, and I sing the present, and also the past and the future,

Because the present is all the past and all the future ...

...

Hello to everything we build with today, all that makes today different from yesterday!

Eh, reinforced concrete, cement mixers, new processes! ...

...

I love you all, everything, like a beast.

I love you carnivorously ...

...

O all modern things,

O my contemporaries, current and upcoming

From the immediate system of the Universe!

New metal and dynamic Revelation of God! ...

 

Hey all past within the present!

Hey all of the future already within us! hey!

Hey! hey! hey! ...

Excerpt from ODE TRIUNFAL by Álvaro de Campos



Fernando Pessoa chose Tavira as the birth place for Álvaro de Campos, the figure who would come to be considered the typical poet of modernity, of civilization and of what is technical in the contemporary world.

It would not have been mere coincidence, nor perhaps the family connections that Pessoa had with the town. He would also have felt the huge enchantment, the historical and cultural sense that envelops every corner of this city... There is a general feeling that, at various times, there have always been people in this small and quaint town, who have been attracted to modernity and have immediately joined and praised new stylistic trends.

The same happened during the 1950s and 60s, a period when modernist architecture was represented by a number of emblematic buildings in the city and its surroundings, buildings that have a great beauty and particular interest, making it urgent to study, catalogue and preserve the integrity of these examples as important witnesses of the city's 20th century architecture.

In this exhibition of photographs, one can see the most striking examples, many of which were created by the architect Manuel Gomes da Costa, an undisputed name in the modern architecture of the Algarve.

However, this exhibition is not intended to honour this architect himself, despite the immense merit of his long working life. It aims to honour the city of Tavira, its architectural heritage and the symbolic value it holds, as a testament to a time and a way of being and thinking. Once again, and in parallel with what happened in previous times, we witnessed in the mid-twentieth century the development of a stylistic manifestation that reflected the openness and availability with which the (high) society of Tavira embraced this new style, refined, geometric and modern, where aesthetic beauty is, above all, a consequence of the classical relations of proportion, as it was in the past.

These buildings, which can be found along both banks of the Gilão river and also in some of the nearby villages, display the possibilities provided by new and emerging materials and building processes, such as reinforced concrete, joined by elements of a modern decorative grammar such as pipes, metal sheets and metal window frames, vertical or horizontal concrete or metal slabs, tile panelling (here often with a so-called "regional flavour"), vitreous glass mosaic, glass or hollow brick, and some charismatic elements of the architecture of the city, such as a trellis or shutters made of wood, especially to provide protective shade.

When we go through the city nowadays and we come across these buildings (many of which are in a poor state of conservation and where some elements have already been covered or are in danger of being destroyed because they look ugly and obsolete), we can still perceive the amplitude and symbolic expression which this movement halted in the middle of the last century in the city.

Hence, from our point of view, the interest in and reason for the recognition, rehabilitation and classification of this whole group of buildings as being “of public interest”.

                                                                         Isabel Macieira