Arriving in Porto and having talked to people who had been there before, we decided to catch a Hop on Hop off bus to see the sights.
As we set off along the shore, we immediately saw a sculpture based on a tragedy at sea. The sea at this time was quite rough and you could imagine the plight of these women as they waited for their fishermen husbands and fathers to return.
Further along the coast was a large sculpture, which was a tribute to the sea. This was a large net like structure, which apparently was even more impressive at night when it's lit up. ( I have picture of this later on in the blog)
Along the bus route, we had an excellent tour of the town, taking in all the landmarks. It was difficult deciding where to get off, not really knowing what we wanted to see and being short of time. We mainly used this as a way of deciding if we would like to return for a short break. Some very nice buildings and a few that were in need of some TLC.
Eventually, we saw the Contemporary Art Gallery mentioned and it seemed interesting as it was also a park with outdoor sculptures. As well as giving us a cultural fix, it also gave us a chance to have a walk in the sunshine.
The Serralves Foundation’s Museum of Contemporary Art is very much on the international art map. The building alone is worth a visit – a masterpiece by Álvaro Siza Museu Romântico Vieira. It plays host to exhibitions showcasing Portuguese artists and others from around the world. These arty indoor treats are complemented by the beautiful surrounding park and the magnificent art deco house.
As we entered the grounds, we were immediately faced with a large sculpture near the entrance. This obviously intrigued us and even though there was a cost to enter the gallery, it proved to be well worthwhile.
The first room we entered displayed a selection of models of outside space sculptures, made by Anish Kapoor, a British sculptor. Born in Bombay, Kapoor has lived and worked in London since the early 1970s. I had seen pictures of his Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago, but did not realise that he had produced so much work in cities around the world.
To see his ideas as models gave a good insight into his thought process.
The next room focused on the work of Gilbert and George and this was the first time I had seen a retrospective of their work and it proved to be quite impressive.
Two more rooms followed with some humorous sculptures in one and a photographic exhibition in the other. I always find it hard to decide why some photographs are chosen, as being worthy of an exhibit whilst, to me being similar to ones anyone can take. At other times I am in awe of the photographers subject matter or view of the world.
After viewing the galleries we decided to wander around the park using a map of where to view the sculptures. Having only a short time left, before having to catch the bus, we were selective over the area we could cover. Some sculptures were quirky whilst others, such as the mirrors and stairway, involved the viewer. These made the walk more interesting and it was a shame we didn't have longer to explore. I did get a chance to capture a quick sketch of one of the landscaped features though.
The ship was only a short distance away but in the heat of the afternoon, we decided to catch the bus back. We were surprised to see that, as we approached the dock, everything was cloaked in a mist from the sea. The seagulls seemed quite happy though. In the distance you can see the sculpture mentioned earlier.
Another enjoyable visit to a city. Not one we may go back to as some others we had visited would be higher up our list. A super art gallery and a range of artwork we would never have expected to see.