A new artist residency stemming from a tangible idea of making site-specific art for an upcoming hotel in Lisbon.
Words: Soraia Martins / Photography: Leonor Carvalho
What happens when a secret, yet-to-be-built hotel starts its own art residency programme at a brand-new studio that just opened in a promising neighbourhood in Lisbon? Well, lots of great things happen, including amazing artists coming to Portugal to give us everything they got for a couple of months.
Nicolai Sarbib, art director at Thirdbase, explains: “this works as a department within the hotel that only takes care of the art angle, whether it is showing the guests all the galleries and art routes in town or welcoming new artists that come in to be part of the residency”. Everyone not living in Portugal can apply by sending their portfolios, and Thirdbase will choose four artists per season — season 2 has already ended and is now showing the final exhibition, a showcase of what the artists have been working on for the last few months of residency.
When we visited the space, season 1 was wrapping up and all the great pieces from Clara Imbert (France), Lulu Wolf (USA), Shawna Ferreira (USAI and Divine Southgate Smith (UK) were ready to be shown to the world.
“We want to see an artist that comes from Turkey, for example, as it happened in season 2, working alongside other artists from the UK, France or Brazil, allowing for the creation of stimulating things.”
The great thing about Thirdbase is that everything being done here by artists from all over ends up in the bedrooms of the hotel, not as mere decoration, but as an immersive experience and something to think about. After that, all pieces stay with the hotel for two years and are replaced, season after season, with new ones and return to their lawful owners — except for one piece, which is kept by the hotel. Call it a souvenir of sorts. This idea of renovation is what keeps it relevant and quite different from what we’re used to, as far as art galleries or residencies are concerned.
We give them a studio and a budget to work and a place to sleep. They’ve got everything here.
This is part of what we do here at Thirdbase, connecting new artists with the people they need to thrive.
The possibilities are endless at Thirdbase. The space per se is airy with a white industrial look & feel begging for something to materialise onto those walls. The artists coming here have all they need to fulfil those wishes.
“We give them a studio and a budget to work and a place to sleep. They’ve got everything here”, Nicolai says.
“We want them to feel involved. We want to see an artist that comes from Turkey, for example, as it happened in season 2, working alongside other artists from the UK, France or Brazil, allowing for the creation of stimulating things, not only for us but for them, as well".
"Even for the community here it’s great, particularly if they get the opportunity to interact with Portuguese artists. The four artists from season 1 have made lots of contacts with gallery owners, curators, collectors, and so on. This is part of what we do here at Thirdbase, too, connecting new artists with the people they need to thrive”.
The space per se is airy with a white industrial look & feel begging for something to materialise onto those walls.