MAAT: Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology Opening in Belém, Lisbon

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
October 4, 2016

On October 5 EDP Foundation will officially open MAAT, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology on the Tagus River in Belém, Lisbon. The new building, designed by the British architect Amanda Levete (AL_A) opens to the public with a 12-hour programme that features exhibition openings, educational events, performances and music happenings. This celebration will take place on the vast EDP Foundation Campus along the Tagus River that will be the heart of an exciting urban revitalisation along one of Lisbon’s most historical waterfront neighborhoods.

The new building
Amanda Levete’s new building captures the essence of the exceptional 38,000 square-meter riverside site and its extraordinary light. The site restores the historic connections between the city and the water. A space to be appropriated by the public, visitors can walk over, under and through the building, while the undulating roof offers panoramic views towards the river and across Belém. The building creates a constantly changing place filled with aquatic reflections that interplay with the overhanging façade covered in 3D tiles, a reference to Portugal’s rich tradition of ceramics.

Inaugural theme: Utopia/Dystopia, Part I and II
To celebrate the inauguration of MAAT’s new building, the museum will present its first site-specific commission addressing the dual theme of Utopia/Dystopia: “Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Pynchon Park“.

At nearly 1000 square-meters, Pynchon Park will occupy the museum’s Oval Gallery and will be the third large-scale environment created by artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, following on TH.2058 at Tate Modern (London, 2018) and Ballard Garden at De Singel (Antwerp, 2014). Bringing media, literature and dystopia together, the artist offers a fictional setting in which an extra-terrestrial has taken over the world and designed a park as a place to observe human behavior under the best possible conditions.

The second part of the Utopia/Dystopia exhibition project will be a large group show to be installed in the three exhibition galleries that complete MAAT’s new museum building. Opening in March 2017, Utopia/Dystopia Part II will feature more than 60 works by artists and architects of international background. The show will portray how the two fields represented ideas of utopia or anticipated emerging notions of dystopia since the 1970s, with a strong focus on work produced over the last five years. Participants include Archigram, Andreas Angelidakis, Kader Attia, Pedro Barateiro, James Beckett, Jordi Colomer, DIS Collective, Didier Faustino, Cao Fei, Ângela Ferreira, Yona Friedman, Michael MacGarry, OMA, Tabor Robak, André Romão, Aldo Rossi, Michael E. Smith, Jonas Staal, Hito Steyerl, Superstudio, among many others.


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