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Exploring Artistic Collaboration: The Intersection of Film and Painting with Gianmarco Donaggio and Nelson Ferreira

This is a literal translation of the article published today by the Batalha Monastery. In this article, the official number of visitors to my two solo exhibitions there was revealed (hint: it's quite a lot). They also congratulate us on being selected for the Berlin Film Festival 2024 Talent.


"Alba Nera" - filmed with Gianmarco Donaggio at the Batalha Monastery in 2023.

PAINTING AND FILM: FROM BATALHA TO BERLIN Italian filmmaker Gianmarco Donaggio was recently selected as Berlinale Talent 2024 by the world's largest film festival, the Berlin International Film Festival. He collaborated with Portuguese artist Nelson Ferreira on the experimental films "Azul no Azul" and "Alba Nera," with the premiere of "Alba Nera" scheduled for June 1 at 4 pm at the Monastery of Batalha, where the project was born.

Gianmarco Donaggio discovered Nelson Ferreira's painting at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in 2022 during the exhibition "Azul no Azul," curated by Hilda Frias. The artist also exhibited at the Soares dos Reis National Museum that same year. Throughout the history of art, we have seen that artistic creation has often been, and is, a consequence of the work of other artists, who sometimes influence it in certain formal aspects that circulate through time and are revisited, as well as in technique. However, in Gianmarco Donaggio's case, it is not only about incorporating Nelson Ferreira's work but also delving into the artist's mind as he paints: a mind that works at night, alla prima (in sight), amidst shadows and light, where classical sculpture or Gothic architecture oscillate as homage and as a setting for the creation and perception of new works on film.

"Alba Nera" was filmed in 2023, primarily at the Monastery of Batalha, mirroring the filming location of "Azul no Azul" at MNAC in 2022, drawing inspiration from the nero (black) and the various tones it encompasses. There is also a criticism on the marketing of novelty as an end in itself. In Nelson Ferreira's "Black Velvet" series, "The Exiled" by Soares dos Reis is revisited in painting using chemically pure black pigments, producing various shades. Ironically, the pigment that was marketed as the "darkest in the world" turned out to be the least dark. This demonstrates that in art, contrary to marketing and consumerism, a deep understanding of historical painting techniques and materials, both Western and Eastern, can foster novelty and artistic creation. Nelson Ferreira used the paint sold as the "darkest in the world" to represent clarity!

Evoking the work of Soares dos Reis in painting does not limit Nelson Ferreira's work, as demonstrated in "Caligem - Mist" (displayed at the Monastery of Batalha in 2023), where he unveiled a new reflective technique he calls PlatiGleam. This technique does not rely on pigments as in historical painting but produces variable reflective effects depending on the incidence of light, inviting active and attentive observation by viewers, sometimes with the aid of a flashlight or mobile phone. As in "Azul no Azul," solid technical knowledge always underpins Nelson Ferreira's artworks - alongside Gianmarco Donaggio's remarkable ability to interpret his creative and mental processes, which in turn generates another cinematic work.

The success of Nelson Ferreira's two exhibitions at the Monastery of Batalha, drawing 135,000 and 126,000 visitors respectively, leaves us eager for more. We anticipate new collaborations between these two artists in the near future, which we will certainly follow closely! (For the original article in Portuguese, please click here)


Another scene of "Alba Nera" - première on June 1st, at 4pm at the Batalha Monastery.

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