AMOR EM TEMPOS DE CÓLERA (love in times of cholera) is the name of the second exhibition resulting from ‘ACTUM – Open Call for Artistic Projects, a support measure for artistic creation and fruition for artists and cultural agents from Braga, which appeared in the middle of the pandemic, in an initiative of Braga City Hall, to which zet gallery has been associated since day one.

In this second act of ACTUM, with an increase of applications and participants, which we welcome, the intention was to approach the story of the love of Art that does not cease, even in times of pandemic, a kind of plague or cholera that literature has already told us about, but that ravages our days of uncertainty and fear. But, like Gabriel García Márquez’s character (1927-2014), the wait for this love is worth the exercise of a lifetime, considering the growing creative maturity of the territory and its capacity to establish artists increasingly close to the contemporary avant-garde. The cultural strength of a place is not only measured by the volume of active programming equipment but, above all, by the energy generated by its creators.

The pandemic period made this fact evident when, on the day that culture was ordered to close its public exhibition and display activity, artists did not cease and flooded the digital public space with the exercise of experimentation, with the practice of the love of art that is like breathing.  The artworks presented as part of ACTUM are thus, stealing the title from the Colombian writer, proof of this love, unconditional in times of cholera, the only one that makes us remember and that shapes the civilisational evolutions of this time and age.

In total, 25 artists are participating, with a notable increase in the interstitial spaces of intervention, with works in contact with photography, the various expressions of the video resource or the occupation of space by objects in an installation mode. We continue to have painting, sculpture but, above all, to allow a curatorial balance between new and old artistic disciplines, new and old materials and technologies. ACTUM positions the creative fabric of Braga, in the field of visual arts, allowing it to be mapped and put into dialogue. Perhaps this is the project’s greatest virtue, apart from the relationship it establishes with the exhibition space of the Casa dos Crivos, which has allowed itself the mutations that the diversity of proposals requires.

With the growth of ACTUM, an initiative that we hope will last beyond the pandemic, our possibilities of questioning the world through art also grow, since we increase the chorus of voices that wants to ask questions, that seeks answers and, above all, does not rest on the first certainty. The transversal themes of this exhibition highlight, precisely, the relevance of the expanded concept of mask, placing the simulacrum and concealment at the centre of the image.  The mounting proposal is, at last, an ergonomic challenge to the public, inviting them to activate some of the works and to leave the narrow field of contemplation and move on to action.  The opening moment will also be marked by a performance by Júlio Cerdeira, in the disciplinary complementarity that this AMOR EM TEMPOS DE CÓLERA (love in times of cholera) requires.

The exhibition will be open at Casa dos Crivos, in Braga, from 10 December 2021 until 30 January 2022.


Helena Mendes Pereira

general manager and curator of zet gallery