Freedom of Image: Design and Visual Communication in Portugal (1974-1986)

Exhibitions — Commissary
Porto, Portugal, 2014

Proposed and commissioned by GMG, Freedom of Image: Design and Visual Communication in Portugal (1974-1986) was an exhibition curated in the context of the 40th Anniversary Commemorations of the 25th of April, the Portuguese Carnation Revolution, and also part of the Year of Design 2014/2015 programme.

As its commissioner GMG  invited José Bártolo the curator, having Miguel Vieira Baptista and João Faria as exhibition and graphic designers respectively. Produced by ESAD – College of Arts and Design of Matosinhos and in collaboration with the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Porto, this project also had the support of various institutions, such as Serralves Foundation, Casa da Música and the Centro Documental 25 de Abril from Coimbra’s University. 

Through a traced pathway, the exhibition gave focus to, among others, Emilia Nadal’s pop sculptures alongside the décolages of  Ana Hartherly, as well as the political boards of João Abel Manta and the vinyl covers of José Brandão. From the visual poetry of Salette Tavares to Ernesto de Sousa’s avant-garde projects, this exhibition conceived a critical mapping of Portuguese visual culture after the dictatorship, which was born from the intersection of a political revolution with a cultural one that affirmed itself in the freedom of image. 

The exhibition reunites 500 works, a collection that reflects  the development of an avant-garde aesthetic, painting very vividly the period of 1974 to 1986 in Portugal as a time of profound political, social and cultural transformation.

The curatorial proposal was structured into main and distinctive exhibition points that focused on different contents, themes and media. These were geographically divided and  showcased in seven emblematic sites and institutions of the city of Porto.