Concrete Distractions by Céline Condorelli at Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon

Pre-historic Cavemen Holes (2016)
Chipboard, masking tape
Photo: Bruno Lopes


Kunsthalle Lissabon is currently presenting Concrete Distractions, the first solo show in Portugal by Céline Condorelli.

Céline Condorelli has developed an extensive body of work by developing possibilities for ways of living and working together and enquiring into property relations and everyday life, which addresses notions such as public space, institutions, politics, the commons, fiction, and articulation. Condorelli’s practice is committed to the continuing exploration of less explicit elements of structures and framing mechanisms through which an individual engages with the world – be they cultural, economic, material, social, or political – the apparatuses of visibility often taken for granted that she calls “support structures.” Her works “focus on the action of showing itself, in its material, temporal nature, precisely because the act of showing implies boundaries and classifications, taboos and hierarchies. In other words, there is always the implicit awareness of an organized visibility that comes to be institutionalized, to be inscribed on social space, even though it may set off from a simple exhibition support”.

For Concrete Distractions, elements in the exhibition are conceived as portals, boundaries or thresholds; acting simultaneously as obstacle and point of access. A screen blocks the entrance into the institution while a curtain spatially reconfigures the entire exhibition space. Condorelli presents and problematises what can be perceived as very simple, or even banal spatial devices, which in fact establish binary systems of visibility operating through the logic of inclusion and exclusion, of hiding and revealing, of granting and refusing access, dividing space and time.

A series of spinning tops are located in the office space, and relate directly to Lina Bo Bardi’s proposal for what a museum should contain: a collection, popular culture and a playground. Condorelli’s interest in playgrounds also develops from their possibility to allow an intimacy with form which is usually forbidden from cultural objects. The spinning tops in Concrete Distractions function simultaneously as scale models for possible carousels (and other past and future playgrounds) and as elements allowing Kunsthalle Lissabon’s office to become a playground itself, inviting staff and visitors alike to play with them.


Exhibition view with Models for a Qualitative Society (2016) and Pre-historic Cavemen Holes (2016)
Photo: Bruno Lopes


Exhibition view with Models for a Qualitative Society (2016) and Telephone Piece (2016)
Photo: Bruno Lopes


Exhibition view with All Our Tomorrows (2016) – courtesy of LUMA Foundation-, Horror of Air Conditioning (2016), How Things Appear, after Carlo Scarpa (2016) and Afterimage 3 (2016)
Photo: Bruno Lopes


Kunsthalle Lissabon – R. José Sobral Cid 9E 1900-289 Lisboa – Portugal
24 June – 1 October 2016