Mauro Cerqueira, Sua boca, aberta para gritar, estava cheia de terra (“His mouth, open to scream, was filled with dirt”), 2009. Performance at Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon, 2009. Photo: Pedro Magalhães. Courtesy the artist and Kunsthalle Lissabon
Kunsthalle Lissabon is a contemporary art institution that carries out its activities mostly, but not exclusively, within the cultural dynamics of Lisbon. Indeed, and in spite of having a German name, Kunsthalle Lissabon is not based in a German-speaking country; its working structure, logistics, staff, and financial resources would hardly ever fulfill the expectations of a conventional, modern-day Kunsthalle. From this point of view, and regardless of any arguments to the contrary, Kunsthalle Lissabon is a hoax.
However, the simple assumption of Kunsthalle Lissabon as a hoax is, in itself, a hoax. This notion of a “fake hoax” intends to convey not only how impossible it is to establish and maintain a (strictly objective and critical) position that is outside of institutional dynamics, but also the desire to simultaneously inhabit and question from the inside these same conditions, consciously accepting every contradiction that decision implies. Our wish, thus, is to position Kunsthalle Lissabon as an intentional alternative to traditional institutional models and, in the process, to expand the general view of what constitutes an institution. To come across as maladjusted to a context of neo-liberal conformity is an identity we intend to develop as a working mode. From that point of view, Kunsthalle Lissabon is anything but a hoax.
Thus, we take as our starting point the historical notion of that which constitutes not only the traditional Kunsthalle, but a whole series of spaces and platforms affiliated with the same kind of institutional typology—though without adopting that nomenclature and placing ourselves within an increasingly precarious current context.