Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais
2710 Sintra, Portugal
Edgy Art In The WildernessIn Cascais, a land of sand and sea, life takes on a slower pace for those accustomed to the Lisbon's urban buzz. But, I found something very curious going on in the nearby Quinta do Pisao in Sintra Cascais Natural Park. It started at the entrance with a towering eucalyptus tree whose bark was swathed in red material. Bicycling along dirt paths past dense forests and open grasslands where donkeys wander, I next found a naked tree standing with its roots reaching for the sky and its branches aligned with the soil. (The dead tree was bound with a thick rope, a metaphor, so said the artist, for man's lost connection to the land.) Atop one hill, I spotted a giant wine bottle-shaped sculpture made of brick red-colored strips of clay. (Fired on the spot, it resembled an erupting volcano.) I soon made another discovery: beside a monochromatic picnic set-up (the blanket, dishware and basket are all pink-hued), two mannequin arms dangled from a pink-painted tree while a pink doll's head perched on a shelf in the ruins of a limestone factory. (The artist duo behind this picnic gone awry wanted the viewer to interpret this crime scene.) Welcome to LandArt, an annual exhibition (April to June) in a natural environment where, around every corner, is a surprising sculpture. It takes about two hours to navigate from one piece to the next via foot or mountain bike – no cars are allowed. Even those who normally eschew art galleries will find this installation - it changes yearly - compelling.