[Photos: Bruno Lopes]

Kunsthalle Lissabon presents Wished On The Moon For More Than I Ever Knew, the first solo show in Portugal by the Glasgow based artist Tamara MacArthur.

Tamara MacArthur’s work has always been focused on the construction of handcrafted worlds, realized with ordinary materials such as paper, foil and wood, that become shelters for the artist, who inhabits them for the duration of the opening.

Like a gigantic pop-up book, a mountainous landscape unfolds itself in Kunsthalle Lissabon's exhibition space. Tamara MacArthur builds a huge immersive installation from scratch, changing deeply the architectural perception of the space. The installation, inspired by the painting Winter Night in the Mountains by Harald Sohlberg, is assembled through the stratification of several hand-drawn panels, while the otherworldly music of a theremin suggests a threshold is to be crossed and the scene explored. Waiting within, is an intimate space protected by a mantle of stars and surrounded by charcoal mountains - there the artist finds their refuge.

Playing with illusions and disillusions Tamara MacArthur leads Kunsthalle Lissabon's visitors through a dreamlike scenario; an imaginary world shaped by desires for stillness, rest and connection. However, Wished On The Moon For More Than I Ever Knew is more than a dream scenario, it is a theatrical staging of a dream scenario. Dreams and theatre sets share the ability to transport us to different and shifting realities - and so the artist employs mechanisms of theatre set design such as flat scenic boards and backdrops of distant lands to conjure a space in which make-believe is possible. The simultaneous visibility and masking of these mechanisms is used to build this growing sense of fantasy as well as to underline the fragility of our desires and experiences.

Tamara MacArthur doesn’t only have their head in the clouds as the old proverb says but, as the writer Ennio Flaiano once wrote, talking about the dreamers, they have their “feet firmly placed on the clouds”.

A strange, glittering reality unfolds - a space for care, softness and fullness.
A moonlit lake, a moment shared.
But nothing lasts and as you turn around the mountains drop away, the scene flattens and the moment experienced becomes a memory.
It is about the impermanence of feelings; the longing for them, their potency when they come, the attempt to hold onto them - to carry them away, but the inevitable, eventual fade of memory.
The landscape you walked in returns once more to a picture.

Wished on the moon for more than I ever knew.

A fantasy left behind, held in a drawing
. * [Tamara MacArthur, 2022]

Tamara MacArthur (1994, Berlin) is a Glasgow-based visual artist. They graduated in Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art in 2017. Solo exhibitions include Wish You Were Here, Govan Project Space (2021); If You Believed In Me, Il Colorificio (2018); All Of Me, New Glasgow Society (2017). Group exhibitions and performances include It’s All Over But The Dreaming, Edinburgh Art Festival (2020); I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’, Gallery of Modern Art (2020); The Milky Way, Franco Noero Gallery (2020); Just A Bowl Of Cherries (Thessaloniki Biennale), MOMus Experimental (2019); Art Late (Edinburgh Art Festival), Dovecot Studios (2019); Waves, Tate Britain (2019); Flashing and Flashing, MAXXI (2019); We Are The Future, Tate Britain (2018); A Hole In The Sky [with Thank You Very Much], The Modern Institute (2018); Hold On Hold On, Embassy Gallery (2017).

Kunsthalle Lissabon is kindly supported by República Portuguesa / DGArtes, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Coleção Maria and Armando Cabral.

[Text: Kunsthalle Lissabon]

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