Kunsthalle Lissabon is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2019. We opened to the public on July 3, 2009 and since then we have presented more than forty exhibitions and have published fourteen volumes. We collaborated with numerous local and international institutions and developed a continuous reflection on institutional knowledge and practice in the field of contemporary art. It was an incredible decade!
We decided to celebrate the occasion not by organizing a party of epic proportions or by writing a manifesto on how difficult it is to manage a small contemporary art institution. We decided to celebrate by simply disappearing from the cultural landscape of the city. Stopping to reflect. The Lisbon that was favorable to the appearance of the Kunsthalle Lissabon in 2009 has very little in common with the gentrified and touristified Lisbon of 2019. It would hardly be possible to start today as we did in 2009. We want to reflect on the responsibility that we have in this process and we also want to reflect on the critical role that we can have in thinking of other ways of imagining the position that contemporary art occupies under these circumstances.
Four international partners, four likeminded institutions will take over the space we will leave vacant. Not only the space but also our production and communication infrastructure, our resources and even our online presence. It will be as if each of these four institutions opened a pop-up version of themselves in Lisbon over a period of time. They will have to negotiate with and interact with a context that is not their own but for which they will have to work publicly.
Kunsthalle Lissabon will be the host that is so radical it gives everything it has to its guests, disappearing in the process. The notion of hospitality has always been one of the central pillars of our institutional thinking, and for the tenth anniversary we want to take it to the extreme. At the same time, we also want to investigate temporary disappearance as a way of reflecting on the cultural fabric of a city like Lisbon at the present time. We have no idea what the outcome of this whole process will be.
Kunsthalle Lissabon will most likely return in 2020.