A ferry ride across the bay of the Tagus River from Lisbon will bring you to Barrerio, Portugal where there lies the remnants of Companhia União Fabril (CUF), the once largest and most diverse Portuguese corporation from the 1930s until 1974. Following the Carnation Revolution military coup on April 25, 1974, and the fall of the Estado Novo regime, CUF collapsed. Many of its companies were forcibly nationalized and the dismembered company fell into decline. Today, the old brutalist remains of the empire stand as concrete archways, vacant warehouses and alien landscapes of the decontaminated pyrite fields.
Towards the water is the site for the Reflecting Pool for CUF, as in ancient Persian gardens, wherein water feature is a key element to balancing the environment. The inherent serenity of water with its glass-like surface adds a pensive mood to the surrounding chaos of industrial detritus and manufactures a double image of the sculptures created from the same garbage.
The assemblages have been generated through an archeological study of the previous factory, revealing resins and plastics, plies of colored glass, inventory records, cement core rounds and ceramic Raschig Rings used in distillation processes. The sculpture garden’s purpose is to provide a place for protected relaxation and convening with the material repercussions of mass industry.
Artist in Residence, PADA Studios, Barrerio, Portugal. November 2019.
35mm color photographs from the surrounding property: