Álvaro Siza: Seven Early Sketchbooks

Niall Hobhouse, Manuel Montenegro and Álvaro Siza

These films were made over four hours on the afternoon of Sunday 25 March 2018 in Álvaro Siza’s studio in Rua do Aleixo outside Porto. I had flown to Portugal that morning with the seven sketchbooks which we were to look through with Manuel Montenegro.

Manuel and I had conceived the project in Milan the weekend before, with the idea that seeing the sketchbooks again would draw their author back to the 1970s, and allow a discussion of the very different creative and political climate in which they were made. Beside Siza’s great generosity in participating, the production really required just the two cameras and an ashtray.

In transcription, the footage also provide the basis of the extensive texts in Seven Early Sketchbooks, which Drawing Matter published to accompany the exhibition ‘Opening Lines’ at the Tchoban Foundation later in the year. In Berlin, we arranged that the pages of each sketchbook were regularly turned, and had then cut the film so that a visitor would always hear and see Siza talking about the image on display.

– Niall Hobhouse