Peter Friedl

Teatro Popular

28.01. - 02.04.2017

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In his first solo exhibition in Portugal, Peter Friedl presents objects derived from a Portuguese street theatre format commonly known as Teatro Dom Roberto. Its stage (barraca) is a minimalist DIY construction covered with cloth. The construction conceals puppeteers from the public gaze, as they direct the violent and noisy actions of the puppets. The traditional Dom Roberto theatre is a minor art, based on typecasting, repetition and quite a restricted repertoire such as O Barbeiro Diabólico or A Tourada.

For his exhibition at Lumiar Cité, Peter Friedl has created his own theatre world, which is both idiosyncratic and plausible. It is an essentially Lusophone universe taking the form of colourful barracas and puppets, fraught with historical references to several centuries and continents. We find, for example, the Sephardic astronomer Abraham Zacuto (1452-ca. 1515), a refugee from Spain, who became Royal Astronomer in Lisbon until he also had to leave the country for Tunis, following the persecution of Jews in Portugal; his Almanach perpetuum revolutionised ocean navigation at the time. Or, in the immediate present, the figure of Isabel dos Santos, entrepreneur and the first African billionaire, as well as her father, Eduardo dos Santos, the President of the Republic of Angola since 1979. Also appearing is the art collector and philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian (“Mr Five Percent”), one of the first to exploit Iraqi oil. The promise of royal glamour is embodied by the unfortunate king Dom Sebastian I, whose ideas of a late crusade led him to embark on a military adventure in North Africa in 1578, where he came to an early death.

In Friedlʼs anachrony the following characters make their appearance: Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba (1583-1663), whose great diplomatic skills held off Portuguese invaders for many years; Dom Nicolau (ca. 1830-1860), a prince of the Kingdom of Kongo, who published letters protesting against the colonial economic policy. Stanley Ho (b. 1921), who became the “King of Gambling” of Macau; the famous Angolan songwriter Bonga; and Olga Mariano, a tireless defender of the rights of Romani in Portugal. General António de Spínola (1910-1996) was the first provisional president of Portugal after the April 1974 revolution.

But there are also fictional characters, such as Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), who wants to escape Morocco on a plane to Lisbon in Michael Curtizʼs classic film Casablanca (1942). The figure of Maria (played by Glicínia Quartin) can be seen as a little homage to the film Dom Roberto (1962) by Ernesto de Sousa. The Moor Floripes stems from a Carolingian legend, which can be tracked to the island of Príncipe. We donʼt know where to find Madeleine McCann, known as Maddie, who disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the spring of 2007, but we know that the occultist Aleister Crowley enlisted Fernando Pessoaʼs aid in faking a suicide at the Boca do Inferno, Cascais, in the autumn of 1930. The devil and an elephant complete Friedlʼs cast.

To build the barraca, Friedl developed different prototypes that can be set up and dismantled without any tools. Instead of drawing on the Alcobaça chintz favoured by local puppeteers, the artist continues to weave his own web – as far as Brazil, where the popular handpuppet theatre from the Northeast goes by the name of Mamulengo. As with his puppets, he achieves (to paraphrase the late sociologist Zygmunt Bauman) an ambivalence in the sense of the possibility of assigning an object or event to more than one category, thus obtaining a disorder specific to language, which can trigger a clarifying discomfort in the beholder.

Peter Friedlʼs multilayered playing with contextual transfers, precise quotations and permanent displacement – a sort of shadow fighting with realism and mimesis – follows an aesthetics of critical intimacy. In the exhibition, as a medium, the figurines, made with the help of a local puppeteer, suggest a myriad of narratives that go far beyond the “traditional” repertoire of the Dom Roberto theatre. This theatre may start to perform at any moment, but it remains silent and still, as if the Fall of individualisation and historiographic fixation had cast a spell on its heroes and heroines. The action and plot are omitted. While in the traditional genre of popular theatre the dramatis personæ used to seek refuge from the excesses of history, Friedl explores how history works. Does the real have to be transformed into poetry in order to be imagined? The artist is fully aware that both the historian and the poet face the same incompatibility of historical reality and its linguistic articulation. The quest for alternative models of narration is aimed at a wide-ranging mobility of notions and concepts – across time and space.

Peter Friedl (Austria, 1960) lives in Berlin. His work has been exhibited worldwide, including at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), Hamburger Kunsthalle. He has participated in the Taipei Biennial (2016, 2012), Venice Biennale (2015, 1999), São Paulo Architecture Biennial (2013), La Triennale (Paris, 2012), São Paulo Biennial (2008), Gwangju Biennale (2008), Manifesta 7 (Trentino, 2008), documenta XII (Kassel, 2007), documenta X (Kassel, 1997), and Berlin Biennale (2004). Recent solo exhibitions: “The Diaries”, Grazer Kunstverein (Graz, 2016); “The Dramatist”, Artspace (Auckland, 2014); “Dummy”, Museum of Contemporary Art (Siegen, 2014); “King Kong”, Le Lieu unique (Nantes, 2013); “Peter Friedl”, Sala Rekalde (Bilbao, 2010); “Working”, Kunsthalle Basel (2008); “Blow Job”, Extra City Kunsthal (Antwerp, 2008); and “Work 1964–2006”, Museu dʼArt Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) / Miami Art Central / Musée dʼArt Contemporain, Marseille (2006–07).

Co-organized by Maumaus and Goethe-Institut Portugal in the framework of their partnership for the Maumaus Residency Programme.


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


Independent Study Programme
Call 2024
Until 03.09.2023


Manthia Diawara
Angela Davis: A World of Greater Freedom
Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon
30.09.2023, 19h00

Commissioned by Serpentine, MUBI and PCAI Polygreen Culture & Art Initiative, as part of Serpentine's Back to Earth project.



Avenida António Augusto de Aguiar, 148 - 3º C
1050-021 Lisboa, Portugal

The discussion will be in English.
Entry is free and limited to the number
of seats available.

Encounters between art and philosophy

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Sala 3, Zona de Congressos
07.–08.05.2024, 11h–13h,14h–17h

Programme 5
True or false

Salam Cinema (1995)
by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
with Esther Leslie and Jihan El Tahri

with Esther Leslie and Jihan El Tahri

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Auditorium 2
09.05.2024, 18h30


Programme 4

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Programme 2:
(de)framing the frame

Meeting the Man:
James Baldwin in Paris (1970)
by Terence Dixon

with Sarah Lewis-Cappellari
and Kerstin Stakemeier

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Auditorium 2
23.11.2023, 18h30

Programme 1:
space, place and memory

with Billy Woodberry
and Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Auditorium 3
13.10.2023, 18h30

Manthia Diawara
Angela Davis: A World of Greater Freedom
Sharjah Biennial 15
07.02. – 11.06.2023

Manthia Diawara
A Letter from Yene
Batalha Centro de Cinema, Porto


Amanda Boetzkes
Realism Without Authority
01.04, 04.04.2022
10h–13h, 14h–17h

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Registration is free but limited to the number of seats available. Please send an email with a short CV to by 24.03.2022. Confirmation of registration will be sent by email. The seminar will be in English.

Lumiar Cité

Rua Tomás del Negro, 8A
1750-105 Lisboa, Portugal
Wednesday to Sunday, 15h00 to 19h00
or by appointment.
Tel: + 351 21 755 15 70

Loretta Fahrenholz
Circle Navel Nil
24.04. – 27.06.2021

24.06 | 18h00 Online conversation with Sabeth

Buchmann, Loretta Fahrenholz and Jürgen Bock


Dozie Kanu
20.01. – 14.04.2024

20.01 | 16h00 Opening of the exhibition

16.03 | 17h00 Talk between Dozie Kanu

and Simon Thompson


Sid Iandovka & Anya Tsyrlina with Leslie Thornton & Thomas Zummer

A combined exhibition between
Lumiar Cité and Kunsthalle Friart Fribourg.

A combined exhibition between
Lumiar Cité and Kunsthalle Friart Fribourg.

Lumiar Cité
27.04. – 28.07.2024

Kunsthalle Friart Fribourg
18.05. – 28.07.2024

27.04. – 28.07.2024 | Lumiar Cité

18.05. – 28.07.2024 | Kunsthalle Friart Fribourg

A co-production by Lumiar Cité
and Artium Museum

14.10 | 17h00 Book launch with talk between

Alejandro Cesarco and
Miguel Wandschneider

| 18h00 Opening of the exhibition


Artium Museum, Vitoria-Gasteiz
24.03. – 24.09.2023


Lumiar Cité
14.10.2023 – 14.01.2024


The Educational Web
Kunstverein in Hamburg
01.04. – 06.08.2023

Closed 24, 25, 31 December and 1 January

Arne Kaiser and Jürgen Bock

In cooperation with Lumiar Cité:

Tiffany Chung
Thu Thiêm: an archaeological
project for future remembrance
08.06. - 08.09.2019

Johann Jacobs Museum

In co-production with Lumiar Cité:

Alejandro Cesarco
Other Recent Examples
24.03. - 24.09.2023

Artium Museum

The Educational Web
31.03. - 06.08.2023

Kunstverein in Hamburg

Maumaus/Lumiar Cité is funded by República Portuguesa – Cultura/Direção-Geral das Artes. With the support of Câmara Municipal de Lisboa and Junta de Freguesia do Lumiar.

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