when in porto, i will always make sure to find a few hours for the serralves foundation. it includes the alvaro siza-designed museum, the wonderful sculpture park and the serene art deco villa.

opened in 1999, this was the first portuguese museum specifically dedicated to contemporary art.

when i was there, there were two shows: marijke van warmerdam

and nedko solakov – all in order, with exceptions. his light-hearted take on the whole show was refreshing: i hate it when art and artists take themselves too seriously. he mixed many medias: imagine little intrusive interventions – marker drawings and text on the walls of the museum. a father and a daughter were taking turns in painting entire walls white and then black and then white again and so on. he illustrated his own fear of flying. a lot of dark humour stories, large and small, sometimes illustrated with figurines or photographs. pornographic drawings featuring fantastic creatures. very entertaining.

as you are going to spend several hours on the premises, the foundation has a few places for visitors to eat or drink: the restaurant, the auditorium bar and the tea house in the park. the serralves store, right at the entrance, is a very interesting place where one can purchase souvenirs as well as the work of portuguese designers.

the park spreads on over 18 hectares and it holds a varied scenery that ranges from landscaped areas to a forest with a lake and even a working animal farm. there’s also a rose garden where you will find an olive tree that’s 1,400 years old! for the sculptures, we got a little map with all the details and went hunting for the pieces. be careful: some of them are quite well-hidden!

do not be fooled: the marques da silva-designed villa only seems closed for visitors. you need to go around it and find the right door. i loved the villa – it was so beautiful that i couldn’t take a bad picture of it.

take advantage of the free admission on sundays, between 10-13. enjoy!

photo credits: lilaesthete