The Hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Conceição was built in Lisbon in 1707. Having reopened in 2008, this small chapel has been since used as a gallery for showing works by contemporary Portuguese artists. The gallery owner’s main goal for the space was to make people aware of its reopening and its new purpose, drawing them to this new art gallery.
One of the things that fascinated us was the Chapel’s original function as a place of worship. The dual presence of divinity and popular culture led us to play with idiomatic expressions in the Portuguese language that refer to God. We sought out formulae used by everyone which, by force of repetition, have become crystallized in the Portuguese language, while maintaining their status as conscious evocations of the divine. This collection of popular expressions highlighted the diversity of words, proverbs and idiomatic expressions that are mechanically repeated by each one of us in our day-to-day lives. We used general expressions like God is good and the Devil isn’t so bad, space-evocative ones like God save us from the bad neighbours on our doorstep and When God closes the door he opens a window, which were, respectively, appropriately placed next to the neighbour’s façade and other to the window.
The texts were read by passers-by at different rhythms over the course of the day. Composed with Knockout typeface, in the same color and texture as their background, letters and words look as if they were coming out from the chapel’s wall.