View of the Ipiranga Museum. Photo: Heloisa Bortz

The newest museum in the city of São Paulo in an instigating way condenses past and present. Installed in an eclectic building, which began to be built in the 19th century and which was entirely restored based on a very current concept of museology and inclusion, the Ipiranga Museum has two structuring pillars - the stimulus to research and the formation of a public broad – and a central object: material culture. It presents itself as a “history laboratory”, in direct opposition to an archaic and fetishized view of history, in which formaldehyde swollen hearts of former monarchs and national symbols and dates are hijacked with the aim of perpetuating the power structures built by past generations.

To transform the place erected to be a memorial of support for a speech of protagonism of São Paulo in the construction of the nation and the heroic figure of the bandeirante, in a space of investigation in which objects, documents and other material vestiges become protagonists, not it's an easy task. Especially if we take into account the existence of a series of restrictions resulting from the listing of the building as architectural and intangible heritage by the three instances of preservation.
One of the solutions found was the massive use of audiovisual resources in the new museological project. Right at the opening, made official on September 6th in the wake of the bicentennial celebrations, frustrated by the political use of the date, 56 audiovisual productions complemented the windows, showcases and works of art spread throughout the building. The forecast is that in the coming months others will be added, totaling 70 digital pieces, dialoguing with the stable structure and thus questioning the official discourse that permeates the ideological project of the museum.

The curatorial design also heavily applied tactile resources, allowing the visitor – and not just the one who has some visual limitation – to touch the various works and objects that make up the various exhibitions, thus reducing the distance between their real and symbolic existence. There are more than 300 resources of the genre, which the public has been timidly discovering, ranging from a taxidermized alligator (representing the period when the museum also housed archeology and ethnology collections, transferred to other USP institutions in the 80s) to replicas in relief of pieces from the collection, such as the portrait of Maria Quitéria or a rest room in which it is possible to concretely experience the various ways of sitting in the history of Brazilian furniture.

The physical renovation, which has been attracting the interest of a public eager for novelties, more than doubled the space dedicated to exhibitions and the circulation of visitors. She also updated and recontextualized the space, making this expansion possible and the inclusion of new perspectives and interpretations on the collection, the building's architecture and the surroundings, observed now from the mezzanine installed at the top of the building.

Excesses came out, such as the gilding on the columns and volutes, the color was harmonized and standardized in a soft tone of original yellow (the walls of the building were subjected to a true archaeological research in order to find the tone of origin). The rooms were integrated, the upper floors were incorporated into the museum and the activities (such as collection, restoration, research, etc.) carried out there were transferred to other rented houses in the vicinity of the Ipiranga neighborhood.

Key works in the collection, such as the famous canvas Independence or death, by Pedro Américo, who recreated and mythologized the staging of the Ipiranga cry many decades after the symbolic gesture of Independence (the canvas is from 1888), or the painting Departure of the Monsoons, by Almeida Júnior, were restored and gained new vitality and new meaning.

Reaffirming its role as a university museum, in which research is of fundamental importance, the institution's curatorial team relied on this renewal process to bring some of its lines of investigation to the public, organizing the visit experience in 11 different long-term exhibitions, articulated in two very didactic axes, entitled To Understand the Museum e To understand society, which will be on display for a period of five years. In addition, the opening of a temporary exhibition is planned for November. Memories of Independence will bring together an expressive set of elements about the various liberation movements, expanding the issue beyond São Paulo and the myth of Ipiranga.

It is an intense immersion in an extremely wide and diverse set that corresponds to just a small part of this great museological universe, since only 3,8 of the more than 450 items preserved by the museum are part of the exhibition.

In the whole set, there is a clear attempt to find in the ordinary, in everyday life, the links that allow us to better understand different aspects of our culture, rescued through captivating objects and stories, such as the collection of toys of different ages, materials and forms – used in the nucleus dedicated to talking about the conservation work carried out by the museum (alongside other primordial functions such as communication, cataloging and collection) –, a magnificent set of hoes used by Japanese immigration or even the touching window entitled "my father's things". There are gathered the belongings, memories and affections carefully guarded by Enedino Vieira Telles, until his death, at the age of 88, forming a small affective museum, activated to testify about the relationship between men and the objects of their daily lives.

Leave a comment

Please write a comment
Please write your name