Lisbon takes center stage in the art world


ARCO, one the most renowned art fairs in the world, hosts its first edition ever outside Spain, in the neighboring town of Lisbon, Portugal. From May 26 to May 29, 45 galleries from 8 countries will show the work of their featured artists at ARCOLisboa.

The long building that stretches parallel to the river and that was there in the old days to make long ropes for the ships crossing the oceans is the privileged location for the first ever edition of ARCO outside Madrid and away from the grounds of Madrid International Trade Fair. The hosting of the first international venture or ARCOMadrid in Portugal comes in at a time when Lisbon is taking center stage as one of the privileged destinations for both tourism and investment. While thousands flock to this city mostly in low cost flights and seeking accommodation in fancy and cheap hostels, others land in Lisbon looking for attractive real estate deals, particularly Chinese and French. As for the latter, recent figures point out for more than 25.000 French who decided to buy a home in Portugal. Affluent Brazilians, Angolans and the thousands that arrive in cruise ships add to this multicultural landscape.


In light of this ARCO, an art fair that is there to showcase the work of artists from the entire world and to act as a platform for deals in the art world, probably did the right thing choosing Lisbon for its first ever even outside Spain. Another important factor that will contribute for the success of ARCOLisboa is the huge popularity of this art fair in Portugal. For decades, thousands of Portuguese have been taking to ARCOMadrid to see what’s new and cool in the art world and as it would be expected the event is high on the country’s agenda.


Aside from providing an excellent opportunity to see the work from foreign artists represented by 45 international galleries, visitors will be given the chance to see the work by Portuguese talents. And while some have their work on display at ARCO, others will have the chance to show their work to international guests. More than 100 international collectors were invited by the organisation to Lisbon, along with members from the international press, who have been invited to make the tour of a number of galleries and museums in the city.


We took the opening of ARCO last Wednesday and wandered through the galleries of the long building of Cordoaria Nacional, admiring the work by some of the artists whose works did catch our eye, such as the compositions by Andy Goldsworthy, a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist; Mafalda Santos’ “Carta Pras Icamiabas”, a work in printed paper and iron; the hypnotic painting “Flag” we kept coming back to; Vasco Barata’s “All Dreams Spin”; or the journey through light and shadow “Labyrinths of Passion”, by Joël Andrianomearisoa. ARCOLisboa closes on Sunday, hence come back to this article as we will update it with more relevant information in the coming days.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

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