The Arpad Szenes – Vieira da Silva Foundation presents Vieira da Silva and Arpad Szenes in the
Millennium bcp Collection, an exhibition that displays, for the first time in Portugal, the complete set of original works by Vieira da Silva and Arpad Szenes featured in the Millennium bcp's art collection.
This exhibition came to be thanks to the Millennium bcp's remarkable and diverse cultural assets, namely its art collection, which follows the international model for establishing large corporate collections as an important cultural investment that illustrates the institution's varied interventions in the artistic field. The collection comprises elements that were amassed over time by a number of financial institutions and have been since studied, preserved and augmented with the objective of divulging and promoting Portuguese art. Its painting section contains several important groups of works, such as the one dealing with Naturalist art or their remarkable set of pieces by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva. Vieira da Silva's work actually became the centre around which a number of paintings by other artists, namely Arpad Szenes, was gathered under the general heading of Abstraction. The present exhibition, curated by Raquel Henriques da Silva, displays all the works by Vieira da Silva and Arpad Szenes in the Millennium bcp Collection alongside pieces from the collection of the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation, thus generating a number of interesting and innovative connections.The set of works on which the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue are based combines eight oil paintings by Arpad Szenes and fifteen pieces by Vieira de Silva. Thus confronted, the works exemplify the profound difference in poetics between these two painters, united otherwise by eternal love, complete selflessness and a commitment to the artistic modernity of their time in Paris, which Abstractionism intended to unify. The exhibition also includes two tapestries from the Millennium bcp Collection: Lisboa ao entardecer [Lisbon in the evening], 1979, and Biblioteca [Library], 1981. Though made without input from the artist at the Portalegre Tapestry Manufacture, both pieces nonetheless exemplify the importance of colour in Vieira da Silva's poetics – in the creation of her dizzying architectures and spaces –, as well as the artisanal quality of her approach, which magnificently emulates the crafts of such ancestral arts as ceramics and tapestry. According to curator Raquel Henriques da Silva, “the reason behind this exhibition and its catalogue […] [is] to divulge […] these pieces, in which the passion of their creator still pulses. To achieve that goal, collectors, both original and current, are the essential partners of the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation, which has been appointed by Vieira da Silva as the immortal body of her love of Lisbon and Portuguese culture.”