Lisbon – ceramics on the metro

As you’d expect in a city famed for it’s azulejos, Lisbon’s metro stations are dripping with ceramic decoration. Below are a few of my favourites with links to the ceramic artists who created them.

The station I like the most is Parque on the blue metro line.

On the ground level the tiles are patterned and modernist…

…but things start to get weird with esoteric symbols on the walls as you descend…

…until at platform level you feel like you have entered a magical netherworld populated by bizarre creatures, some of which are reminsicent of a Hieronymus Bosch painting.

All the tiling is the work of Maria Keil, who decorated the first twenty Lisbon Metro stations that were opened between 1959 (the year Parque was built) and 1972.

Another station to check out is Restauradores, also on the blue line.

You can view the brightly coloured panel near the ticket gates without going through them. The panel is by the Brazilian artist Luiz Ventura and is called “A Chegança” (meaning “Arrival” in English) and commemorates the 500th anniversary (in 1994) of Portugal’s first trip to the Americas.

It portrays the first encounter between two very different cultures.

Down on the platform at Restauradores are panels by the Portuguese geometric abstractionist painter Nadir Afonso, who first worked as an architect under Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. Afonso helped to bring Kinetic Art to Portugal, as these panels representing different major cities exemplify.

On my way to the Pinheiro museum (see coming post) I stumbled across these panels at Campo Grande. The ceramics here date from the 1990s and are by Eduardo Nery, a Portuguese artist whose work is described as Abstract Illusionism or Op Art (optical art), styles of visual art that make use of optical illusions.

In Campo Grande station, Nery takes historical azulejos and decomposes them into new forms.

Some of my most favourite ceramic artists coming next…

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