The exhibition Our Sea - Photography by Artur Pastor, built in cooperation with the Municipal Archives of Lisbon and with the tireless collaboration of Artur Pastor (son) brings together in a single narrative countless stories of men and women of the sea. A set of 74 photographs, invoke the passion of Artur Pastor by the sea and its people. A memorable exhibition in the eighty years of an irreverent Museum. Artur Pastor (1922-1999) was one of the great Portuguese photographers of the twentieth century. He began his career in the 1940s and produced, incessantly, throughout his life. He was particularly interested in the human landscape, the ethnographies of work and the rural world. In black and white he sought to find a simple and sagacious registration, capable of highlighting the natural beauty of things. The sea and the life of those who work on it were also a constant of his photographic records.
Our Sea - Photography by Artur Pastor brings together in one narrative countless stories of men and women of the sea. The images are injunctive. They link words and things and raise questions about the "our sea", a legendary place that may have been lost. All the seventy-four photographs that are displayed here invoke a time, a space, an imaginary. The aesthetic emotion we feel while seeing them floats as we relate to the "things of the sea", and varies according to our understanding of photography as art. Whatever this perspective of the self, it is certain that these years of the middle of the last century, the time of a "New State" ethnographized in multiple forms, inside and outside the ballooning redoubt of propaganda, is an endless archive of images that seem to defy the corrosion of its own meaning. Perhaps because of this, these images imply an aesthetic of poverty that, being beautiful, is also cruel. The geometrical harmony of the boats and the arts stretched out on the beach, the carved faces of men and women do not reveal the negatives of a daily life made of great rigors and privations, of poverty and conflict.
Do we see what we want in these images? Or do we know what we see through what photography shows us?
The idea of producing this exhibition was born of an anthological intention that the work of Artur Pastor well justifies. Gathering the main maritime images of the photographer in a museum whose cultural project focuses on the works of memory means worshiping photography as documentary art and as an identity discourse.