Victor Palla (debate)

Next Friday (March, 19), at P4Photography.

Victor Palla (1922-2006) is best known worldwide for his photobook Lisboa, Cidade Triste e Alegre (1957-59) (Lisboa: a Sad and Joyful City), the visible legacy of a project with the same name that was exhibited in Lisbon in the 1950s, co-authored by Costa Martins. But Palla’s body of work goes well beyond that magnum opus. In fact, his artistic achievements are not confined to photography. Palla was a painter, a ceramist and a graphic designer. He was also a publisher and translator, and he owned a gallery in Lisbon. Besides all these creative activity, Palla still managed to excel in his main career: architecture. As written in the catalog of Vitor Palla’s Auction (P4Photography, May 2008), he (…) became one of the main architects responsible for the modernization of Portuguese architecture, following the international Style principles in a very radical way, under a Brazilian influence.

In 1982, Antonio Sena and the legendary Ether gallery in Lisbon redistributed Lisboa, Cidade Triste e Alegre. Sena, the renowned historian of Portuguese photography, probably kept Palla’s achievements from fading out into oblivion and he sure was the main responsible for the book to gain international reputation. That reputation reached its peak when Martin Parr and Garry Badger selected Lisboa… for “The Photobook”, in 2004.

P4Photography made the decisive step in the revitalization of Palla’s work, with the auction in 2008. Continuing the commitment to his art and ingenuity, P4Photography gallery presented, in the beginning of 2009 (until March 24), an exhibition of Palla’s vintage photographs. Finally, next Friday’s debate will join João Palla, André Principe and Alexandre Pomar in the house that devotedly nourishes Victor Palla’s legacy.

Carlos Miguel Fernandes

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