Arthur Bispo do Rosário's mantle is placed in a bubble for disinfestation in a method to exterminate his work. PHOTO: Disclosure

Located in Jacarepaguá in the west of Rio de Janeiro, the Arthur Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea Museum, formerly named Nise da Silveira, is today a reference for contemporary art. It occupies a space within the Juliano Moreira Municipal Health Assistance Institute, formerly known as Juliano Moreira Colony.

Known historically as a place that housed people considered “outcasts” from society, the institution received inmates with psychiatric problems, in addition to alcoholics and drug addicts. Marginalized by society and neglected by the prejudice they suffered in the XNUMXth century, these people were taken there, where they were isolated from the outside world.

In the beginning of the 50's, a nucleus was created to house the artistic productions of the inmates of the Colony. Many spent part of their time dedicating themselves to activities offered by the art therapy segment.

One of the patients at the Colony was Arthur Bispo do Rosário, a carrier of paranoid schizophrenia (according to his first admission record), who gladly dedicated himself to his artistic work. Since then, a lot has happened around his figure. He had his works recorded in reports and documentaries, but it was only in 1982 that his pieces were exhibited outside the Colônia, at MAM in Rio, curated by Frederico Morais.

After his death, in 1989, several exhibitions with works by the artist were held, inside and outside Brazil. Arthur even represents Brazil at the 46th Venice Biennale. And, in 2002, the museum space inside the Colony was named after him. In 2012, he becomes one of the main guest artists of the 30th Edition of the Bienal de São Paulo, with around 300 pieces spread over 300 m2.


Bispo became one of the great symbols of psychiatric reform and the anti-asylum struggle in Brazil, for the integrity and defense of patients with disorders.

Curator of the Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea Museum since 2014, Ricardo Resende found, with great enthusiasm, a challenge ahead of him when taking on the position: “My work has been to raise awareness of the institution of a need and importance of preserving and conserving the Bishop's work. Due to the materials used by the artist, the work is quite vulnerable. During his career, Ricardo has already had experiences with institutions that were in a precarious state, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, when it operated in the Bienal building, and the MAM-SP, before being chaired by Milú Vilella.

The curator says that since the work was brought from Bispo's cell, in 1989, for an exhibition, there has never been an intervention that took care of its preservation with such intensity as the one carried out since 2017. work to readjust the technical reserve, where the works are kept, so that there are ideal conditions for the conservation of the objects. Ricardo highlights the full support and conditions given by Raquel Fernandes, director of the museum since 2013, so that all the work could begin to be carried out.

The Bishop's work brings together hundreds of objects made of wood, fabrics, plastics and threads, which gave rise to a number of insects. Disinfestation and cleaning of the work began in 2016, going through a process of building a hermetically closed bubble, in which only hydrogen is kept, removing oxygen. “The process consists of asphyxiating all living beings that may exist in the work. It took a year,” says Resende. All 804 works by Bispo, which make up the collection, underwent this disinfection and hygiene technique.

At the same time, it took the opportunity to start cataloging the entire collection, carried out by the museum's own team, coordinated by Christina Penna, who was also responsible for cataloging Portinari. At the moment, comments Ricardo, the consolidated collection has already been cataloged, but there is still some residual material, which was unknown, and which was also in the museum's technical reserve. In addition, all of Bispo's work was photographed by Rafael Adorján.


This succession of processes will give rise to the catalog raisonne by Arthur Bispo do Rosário, which will be printed thanks to the support given by Almeida and Dale Gallery  to the museum. “They provided us with the funds necessary to guarantee the cataloging process and also made a commitment to print the catalog for us”, says the curator.

In addition to the novelty of the catalog RAISONNÉ, the museum that had been supported by the Marcos Amaro Foundation in the readjustment of the technical reserve, with the objective of reaching an ideal standard of preservation and conservation and in the museographic renovation of the exhibition rooms, today receives a new sponsorship necessary for the renovation of the Ulisses Viana Pavilion, where the cell that Bispo lived and developed much of his work.

“Marcos Amaro is now helping us to recover the pavilion where Bishop do Rosário's cell is located, where he produced a large part of his work. Recently, we discovered that the cell where he lived was all designed”, comments Resende. With this discovery, the site will need to undergo a restoration process removing layers of paint to reveal the works.

The walls of the cell where Bispo was kept during his internment keep traces of his passage there. PHOTO: Disclosure

The building will be renovated from the roof to the electrical part, making it open to the public. The curator also says that, with the restoration of the pavilion where Arthur was kept, there is a desire for the museum to be transferred there, providing a better setting for the work. [Regarding the importance of this initiative, read the text by Professor Dunker]

Establishing a history of collaborations with institutions and artists, the Marcos Amaro Foundation (FMA) has also supported, this year, the artist Brígida Baltar with the Marcos Amaro Art Prize, at SP-Arte. Gallery artist Nara Roesler received 25 thousand reais and had the work I come from the sea (2017) acquired by the institution. At the end of September, the FMA decided not to support just one artist with the acquisition award in partnership with ArtRio, but a project. The winner was the collective AMIGO EAV 2018.2, curated by Bernardo Mosqueira, from the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage.

The support for the Bispo do Rosário Museum is the first major support given by the FMA to an institution, says the director general Raquel Fayad. She classifies the initiative to help with the necessary contribution as something “primary”, considering the greatness of Bispo. She also highlights that this is one of the roles that the FMA seeks to fulfill: “We understand that we are not the only ones who are developing, but that we also need to create a network of museums that need resources to achieve the ideal museological and museographic conditions of operation. ”, he points out.


To maintain the museum's staff, the institution has public funds from the Municipal Health Department of Rio de Janeiro. In addition, after having two requests for listing denied (by INEPAC and Iphan in RJ), the museum finally managed to have the collection listed, now by the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (Iphan Nacional), last September.


Leave a comment

Please write a comment
Please write your name