Timeless - Hospital de Bonecas, Lisbon

“We are all broken”, introduction by Cláudia Almeida, curator of the “Hospital de Bonecas” shooting, Lisbon, December 2019.

Read the Portuguese version


“Timeless” is a recent artistic idea, held by Francesco and that was launched a year ago, starting in the “Museum Speelklok”, in the city of Utrecht, Netherlands. The concept of the new series based on photography is using only the camera to capture the objects, spaces and moments, without any additional light equipment. Francesco uses his lens not just to look but to feel and to capture the beginning of a narrative, in every photograph, and in the series.


As I was in touch with this new project, due to our frequent collaboration, I was naturally impelled to quest other magical and peculiar kind of places, mainly in Portugal, to enrich the new photography series. 


Hospital de Bonecas (“Dolls Hospital”) was the perfect place for a new inquiry. The enchanted place we found in the core of Lisbon’s downtown, is just overwhelming. First of all, the people behind the concept of fixing broken dolls as Memory preservation for the future generations; then the building itself – which was actually a hospital and a primary school, where children also played with dolls and toys. Last but not least, the collection. The careful and graceful display of the collection, gathering thousands of dolls chronologically, thematically or geographically is completed with the guided visit held by Manuela Cutileiro. In her voice, as we walk through the rooms, we can breathe her generosity and her kind manners in which she uses to treat people, and the dolls. The greatest satisfaction to take care of the broken dolls and to fix them, giving them back, in the most perfect condition as possible, is well exposed in her eyes and in the way she handles the broken dolls with her hands, in a most poetical approach. We felt more in love with the place.


The most stimulating idea for me, curating this new series, was to inquire these dolls as people. How they resemble us, in our path through life, with so many contradictions, broken in some ways, fixed in another. A part of the collection is reserved with spare parts and never fixed dolls, but that found a place within the others, belonging, even so, to each scene in the setting. As we do in life, perhaps?


Francesco represented the concept of “we are all broken” with great mastery using several approaches to the photos, according to his visions. The gallery we can now appreciate is full of life and stories, detailed expressions, wider perspectives, and even the leftovers are elevated to the sacral treatment of an ancient ruin that History brought to our days. Objects and Francesco’s artistic veins flow in these photographs. The eternal quest for beauty, now as in the early years of his career, no matter the resources to use.