In Search For "Lost Memories"
by Daniel Novo Gaspar
One of the biggest challenges for me is getting in to my memories, getting lost in them as I get lost so many times in paths that in the end lead me to relive stories that I thought I had already forgotten. Now imagine finding memories that are not mine, don't belong to me, that guide me through spaces that I don't know, objects that don't tell me much, paths already taken by others and what remains of them is only history now forgotten.
Leaving to discover, I highlight the manor houses and farms, those that once were inhabited by noble lords or of great possessions, and by their families.
As well as the age of these stately homes, I was inspired by paintings from the 19th century. They are distinguished by their architecture, decoration, and the ability to resist time and vandalism. They are authentic museums with an open door.
Due to lack of documentation, investigating these homes is a frequent challenge. Knowing its history and that of those who lived there is sometimes impossible, and often what I have left is to observe and instinctively gather information.
In general, the first image that comes to mind when we think of abandoned places is a ruined, destroyed, empty space or building. Sometimes that is not the reality. There are places full of stories, whether houses, farms, palaces, hotels, which hide a universe of secrecy and mystery that I like to unravel. And with this project I want to change that idea a little, showing a more classic and manorial side of several abandoned places in Portugal.
In this project I show that in addition to the space itself, it is also the objects that compose and give life to these forgotten places. I portray the idea of the mystery that each space carries, and not knowing what I will find, what may be inside.
It is not just about documenting these forgotten places, I look for their characteristics and personality, not only for their beauty, but mainly for the way that light invades and illuminates spaces, as the only present and living form. An exploration, requires research, enriches my culture, generates creativity and is a source of inspiration.
Held at Quinta dos Casamentos (weddings farmhouse), a farm built in the middle of mountains, quite isolated from large cities. Possibly due to the difficulty in finding this space, until today there has not been much vandalism. One of the main characteristics of this farm is this room, not only because it is the only room with paintings on the wall, but mainly because these paintings were made by hand.
The Matafome Palace belonged to a noble gentleman who had several businesses, the largest being the harvest and sale of olive oil in the region. In his spare time it is known that he had an amateur radio station, at the time very characteristic among the wealthiest lords in the region.
Quinta do Músico (Musician Farmhouse) is one of the largest farms in that region, and also one of the oldest, belonging to the 19th century. It was one of the places I most enjoyed visiting, not only for its history, but mainly for its interior. Almost all the rooms are intact, with all the filling, exactly as they were left, except those that have already suffered vandalism or theft.
Still in Quinta do Músico there is this small chapel, built in 1880, which served to celebrate Sunday masses and weekly family prayers. In the 19th century, it was customary for noble lords with large farms to build small chapels in their houses, not only because they had possessions, but mainly because their farms were not close to villages or churches.
Quinta do Músico has the particular characteristic of looking like a guesthouse or a local accommodation. Walking through one of its great corridors we find this social room with a pool table in the middle, sofas around the walls, chests and a collection of religious paintings. Despite visible destruction and the ruined roof, this room does not go unnoticed by its beauty and importance for the farm.
The Dollhouse is a small house full of history that has stopped in time. The house stands out for this room because of the dresses hanging on the doors and windows. Very old dresses probably used in special occasions.
This room was one of the most peculiar rooms I have ever encountered. In the middle of a long corridor there is this dining room, which in a way breaks a sequence. A corridor full of doors that lead to several rooms, and in the middle of that corridor is a dining room that does not make sense. With the kitchen on the opposite side of the farm, this room must have been furnished, but not to be used.
At the end of a farm I found this storage room. With only one broken chair, this room is completely filled with empty chests in every corner. Without the small window on the roof that creates this almost divine light, nothing could be seen.