Friday, 6 April 2012

Ilustrarte 2012 at Museu da Electricidade

(Image by Adelino Oliveira, via Wikimedia Commons)

On the banks of Lisbon's Tagus River, just a few minutes walk from where I live is Museu da Electricidade - the Electricity Museum. Originally a thermoelectric power station, Museu da Electricidade houses a permanent exhibition on electricity along with an ever-changing programme of exhibitions exploring contemporary art, design and architecture. A building whose first phase was completed in 1908, Museu da Electricidade is a beautiful example of industrial architecture, and its permanent exhibition consists primarily of the very equipment used to power Lisbon city and the surrounding region until 1972.

(Image by Andre Sa)

On display in the museum until this Sunday is Ilustrarte 2012 - the fifth edition of an international biennale of children's book illustration. The work of 50 illustrators is on display, showing the breadth of illustration work being undertaken across the world. Aptly, considering the location of the exhibition, each exhibitor's work is displayed in an individually-lit chest of drawers, giving the exhibition a quirky but homely character along with an interactive element.

(Image by Philip Kennedy)

Though it's difficult to pick out a favourite from the 50 sets of work on show, one piece that stood out was Spanish illustrator Pablo Amargo's illustrations for a lengthy (in dimensions rather than amount of pages) book called Casualidad/Chance. The book focusses on a character who believes that nothing happens by chance, and in fact the wind is responsible for anything someone else might attribute to coincidence. This idea leads to some really charming illustrations of the wind's influence on things within the crisp depiction of an urban environment.