Fátima Spínola (1984) was born in Santana and developed a taste for Art during her childhood, in the interaction with the rural space: buildings with earth and with farm materials (reeds, trees, sections of cabbages, herbs), curiosity for spaces abandoned and obscure, full freedom and security, which allowed hours of play without the supervision of elders, the definition of spaces through imagination. Lisbon, at eighteen, was confronted with a more urban reality and with a learning of art from a conceptual perspective. There began the definition, through visual arts, of a more conscious language. Childhood constructions gave way to installation, painting, drawing and engraving, questioning and reflecting on social, economic and political issues. She graduated and post graduated in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon, having specialized in printmaking. Between 2000 and 2020 she exhibited in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Brazil, being represented in the Imago Mundi collection by Luciano Benetton (Italy), in the Periplos - Arte Portugués de Hoy collection at the Malaga Contemporary Art Center, (Spain) and in private collections in Switzerland, France, Scotland, Portugal and Brazil.
I asked her : How you can describe your relationship with this island, what is the influence of your art on Madeira art, and Madeira on you?
Any space helps to build our mental structure and so it has implications for the way we look at reality and the way we create. If this space is experienced by the creator, it will be a direct condition to the creative act. If it is only the place of birth, it will be an indirect condition with reference to the imaginary and memories of others. The condition of islet brings with it particular connections, a relationship with the sea, with wide horizons, with a certain type of light, with an orography of ascents and descents, with vegetation that rises even in cement and that proliferates in an abundant way. Some constraints to the expansion of creation have been reduced with new communication resources, however, we have great gaps with regard to art criticism, collecting, the market, and specialized exhibition spaces. This inexistence is undoubtedly a brake on the construction of a career that can have an impact on Art History. The creation produced and exhibited only here will hardly be able to flourish and achieve the visibility necessary for a career with a worldwide impact, or even a European one. The island language / thought exists as part of a whole of the human experience and presented frequently in the creative act, often consciously, but also unconsciously. Our insularity is marked by the subservience of the majority of the population, in the context of a late feudal regime. It is also marked by its geographical position in the world, a space of transatlantic hinge where influences from Africa, Europe and America converge. Point of constant emigration and incubator for various agricultural crops that were later implemented on a large scale elsewhere. One of the influences of this insularity and that runs through all the time is the geography and orography of the island that maps our perspective. The exuberance of Nature and its resilience in unimaginable places is also an inevitable influence. We hardly escape one or more influences in the way of communicating through creation.
Your painted door, what do you think about the project ''Arte de Portas Abertas''?
My Project Name: Look Beyond the Happy Ending
In my wanderings through the Old Town, I came across several painted doors and some installations, I immediately fell in love with the Arte de Portas Abertas project and the intervention area. It was a change ... The weight of the streets seemed to disappear as the doors opened to the imagination of those who created and those who looked at them.
I saw it as a kind of “open work” (as one of the titles of the writer Umberto Eco), but for very different reasons. Throughout this project, I realized that the main doors they opened were those on the street itself. The invisible and heavy doors that were daily penetrated by residents or by those looking for trade, of everything and anything else, began to disappear.
To my great happiness, it was not long before Jose's invitation arrived and our conversations led me to better understand the purposes and value of this unique intervention and the historical space that welcomes it.
From the old zone we can say that it received the first settlers of Madeira Island, humble people who came to remake their lives in a new land, protected by the mountain and with a sea line right at the foot. Rua de Santa Maria was Funchal's first artery and therefore bears the weight of history that accompanies the human presence on the island.
Of all the reflections on this space, what captivates me most are the mutual influences between the space and the people. Having had so many contexts over time, I chose to focus on the human relationships associated with the place of intervention. A den of addictions, commerce and degradation would be the most common description of the past two decades. However, for some years now, winds of change have been felt. Greater concern of the entities in the preservation of the architectural and cultural heritage of the area and in the transformation of the social context.
In my contribution to this project, I understand the “door” as a hinge between the private and public spaces. The door as a symbol, sometimes creates connections, sometimes undoes them, constantly mediating the relationship between space and those who inhabit it.
One of the doors that awaited new life that I loved is located at Rua dos Barreiros, perpendicular to Rua de Santa Maria. No. 4 is one of the side doors of the “Violino” Restaurant, no one enters or leaves, it is a simple gas door. In its simplicity I found the exact location for my project. I liked the dimensions of the door and the fact that it is wider and smoother than most. The air outlet at the top of the door had the potential to connect the interior and exterior and that dynamism was the added value for the final decision.
I reflected on its location and the building that housed it, the context of the area and its function. Of the various ideas that emerged, I selected two to study in detail. The first approach had a comic base with a direct relation to the building's function, a giant lobster trying to escape through the cracks above the door, would bridge the interior and exterior of the restaurant.
The other hypothesis studied was of greater interest to me due to the breadth of interpretations and Look Beyond the Happy Ending bridges the gap between public and private space. It speaks of love given and love sold, of stolen kisses, on the doorstep ... Upon arrival or farewell, assumed or hidden. Above all, it speaks of the love that exists, regardless of the end that awaits it!
What you want to bring like an artist here, and what is your message or advice to young artists living here ..
As an artist I want to continue to develop my work and artistic research, bringing my unique and sensitive point of view to a reflection and cultural production that belongs to all of us. I have been working a lot from the human figure, the portrait and the self-portrait as reflections on our interior from the psychology, sociology and philosophy. As well as through the Artistic Installation, with local and intercultural influences and concepts.
My message to young artists is that they work from what is most profound to them, without fear of taking risks, even if they are not, at a certain moment, understood or even appreciated. Persistence is a fundamental ingredient for the development of your artistic research. As much as possible create bridges for other sites and with other artists regardless of the area of creation of each one.
Fátima Spínola page:
Veronika Zhezhovska 28.12.2020