Allan Sekula (USA) lives and works at Los Angeles as an activist, artist, writer and critic. His work comprises, since the beginning of the 1970ʼs, the history and theory of photography, as well several projects focused on economical and geopolitical thematic. His books include: ʻPhotography against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works 1973-1983ʼ, ʻFish Storyʼ, ʻGeography Lesson: Canadian Notesʼ, ʻDismal Science: Photo Works 1972-1996ʼ, ʻAllan Sekula: Dead Letter Officeʼ, ʻDeep Six/Passer au bleuʼ and ʻTITANIC's wakeʼ (Portuguese version published by Maumaus). He is also co-author of ʻFive Days That Shook the World: Seattle and Beyondʼ. Sekula has participated in numerous individual and collective exhibitions, including the 50th Venice Biennial, Documenta X, XI and XII in Kassel, and the 29th São Paulo Biennial. He is a professor at the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), in Valencia (USA).
Allan Sekula is a renowned photographer, theorist, photography historian and writer. Using colour photographs in conjunction with text, Allan Sekulaʼs work focuses on economic systems, a subject often considered incompatible with the field of art. Cultural critics frequently see the economy to be a problematic issue that is of little interest for arts practitioners, although many artworks are under the unmistakable influence of market forces.
For Sekula, it is irrelevant that photography has finally been acknowledged as an artistic medium like any other, alongside painting or sculpture. He considers the modesty of the medium, and the possibility it offers to attain knowledge through keen observation, to be a more interesting characteristic. Relying on its ability to describe aspects of economic systems within the framework of the visual arts, through what is commonly called ʻdocumentaryʼ practice, Sekula attempts to offer a clear alternative to the kind of photography usually shown by the contemporary system of museum and galleries. According to the artist this system in essence prepares the work for an ʻantiquarian futureʼ, which condemns art to conform with the museumʼs relics of the past.
In recent years, Sekula has worked on long documentary projects inspired by contemporary political events. These projects have given rise to sequences and major series that often culminate in the publication of a book. In these publications, the photographs are contextualised by the artistʼs texts - which are always present in his exhibitions - which emphasizes the fact that Sekulaʼs practice also encompasses writing, alongside the production of visual work. Sekula calibrates each exhibition through a careful selection of photographs and objects specific to the context of the given place, thus ʻre-writingʼ his own narrative via the re-arrangement of work. By developing his exhibitions from venue to venue, they in effect connect cities and harbours, which evokes the production and flow of goods via complex network relationships of harbour cities, the subject of Sekulaʼs practice.
Lumiar Cité in Lisbon now presents the exhibition The Dockersʼ Museum. Photographs from the series ʻShip of Foolsʼ and the film ʻThe Forgotten Spaceʼ (Allan Sekula, Noël Burch) constitute part of the exhibition. The configuration of the exhibition is defined through an emphasis on cartoons and objects related to the world of dockers and seafarers, reflected in the exhibition title. The ʻobjects of interestʼ collected by the artist and the cartoons appropriated by him are not to be understood as artworks, but instead contextualize Sekulaʼs photography and film, while these in turn contextualize Sekulaʼs ongoing activity of collecting these items. Sekula finds his ʻobjects of interestʼ at online auction houses, contrasting the mystical ʻspeed of lightʼ of the Internet with the slow movement of cargo, 90 per cent of which is moved by sea.
Through taking the ʻforgotten spaceʼ of the sea with its 100,000 ships and 1,500,000 workers as the subject for his work, Allan Sekula reflects on the effects of current neoliberal ideologies. His work questions their promises of a painless, endless flow of goods and capital with the emphasis on consumption and negating the work and working conditions behind it. It reveals the far-reaching impact of globalization on peopleʼs lives.
Avenida António Augusto de Aguiar, 148 - 3º C
1050-021 Lisboa, Portugal
Monday to Friday, 10h00 to 13h00,
14h30 to 19h00
Tel: + 351 21 352 11 55
Rua Tomás del Negro, 8A
1750-105 Lisboa, Portugal
Wednesday to Sunday, 15h00 to 19h00
and by appointment.
Tel: + 351 21 755 15 70 | 21 352 11 55
Ao descer a escada
Há um degrau p’ra me sentar.
Não há outro degrau
Não estou lá em baixo
Nem lá em cima estou.
Estou é na escada
Onde sempre estou.
Ao subir a escada
Não estou em cima, nem em baixo.
Não estou na creche,
Nem mesmo no sopé, acho.
Ideias estranhas começam a girar
Na minha cabeça
Fora do lugar!
09.11.2019 - 02.02.2020
26.06 | 18h00 Online conversation with Sabeth Buchmann
Thompson, Jürgen Bock
26.06 | 18h00 Online conversation with Sabeth Buchmann
All the light that's ours to see
Extended until 6 December 2020
In line with revised recommendations from the authorities, we are postponing the exhibition, which was scheduled to open on 28 March. A new date will be communicated in due course.
In cooperation with Lumiar Cité:
Thu Thiêm: an archaeological
project for future remembrance
08.06. - 08.09.2019
Johann Jacobs Museum
Maumaus / Lumiar Cité
is funded by Ministério da Cultura / Direção-Geral das Artes. With the support of Câmara Municipal de Lisboa and Junta de Freguesia do Lumiar