Last Minute Call For Artists!

Raizvanguarda currently has slots open for artists from Saturday 9th September 2017 – Tuesday 31st October 2017. The deadline for applications is 5 pm, Friday 1st September 2017. Artists will be notified of a decision within one week after the deadline.

If you want to visit Raizvanguarda next season, there are slots open from Monday 2nd April 2018 – Wednesday 31st October 2018. The deadline is 5 pm, Tuesday 31st October 2017. 

To apply for our residency, please fill out the application form and send a CV along with a portfolio of maximum 10 works. Send it all to If you want to know more about our Artists In Residency Programme click here.

Uma Força Misteriosa

“A Mysterious Force” is an exhibition by Paula Förstner and Beatriz M. Barrio, who both come from Madrid, Spain. The two artists have come to Raizvanguarda to feel the inspiration of the Portuguese nature surrounding the school as well as to enjoy the beautiful work rooms of the school.

Both artists work with topics such as memories, womanhood and the influence of natural light.
This collaborative exhibition rose from the desire to display the works they have created during their stay at Raizvanguarda, almost as a ceremonial ending to their visit.

The exhibition will be held in Raizvanguarda’s rooms on Saturday the 26th of August at 8 pm.

To learn more about the artists’ intentions of this exhibition, you can read more on the facebook event.

Beatriz M. Barrio

Beatriz M Barrio is a visual artist and photographer based in Madrid, her work deals with issues of self-perception and with nature.
Her interest lies within the therapeutic qualities of making art and believes in the healing power of creativity. She combines her teaching activity as coordinator of the International Contemporary Photography Master Program at EFTI School of Photography in Madrid with her practice as an Art Therapist. She organizes creativity workshops in which she combines artistic and corporal techniques to allow a genuine expression and a deeper understanding of the self through the practice of art.

At Raizvanguarda Barrio will be working on a project called “About my father”, which is a creative piece of work inspired by the recent passing of her father and the religious part of his life as a minister. Barrio does a great job mixing painting and filming in a harmonious piece of performance art. The piece is inspired by religious symbols, childhood memories and the influence of natural light.

Beatriz M. Barrio will have an exhibition at Raizvanguarda on Saturday the 26th of August 2017 where she will show her work in collaboration with Paula Förstner.

If you want to see more of Beatriz’ work, go visit her web page.

Paula Förstner

Paula Förstner is an artist based in Madrid, working within the field of visual arts. She will be staying in Raizvanguarda for two weeks working on a project called “Seas of Fire” inspired by the quote “I am drowning, my dear, in seas of fire” by Virginia Woolfe.
This sentence of the feminist Virginia Wolfe is a metaphor of the way many women felt and feel today, caged in traditional roles both in family and society even political ties. It illuminates how many women live in society but don’t play an active role in it, which is exactly what Förstner is attempting to illustrate as well with her work.

Förstner has acquired materials such as pictures taken for a local seamstress from private donations as well as from the local abandoned paper factory. Her work focuses on the transparency of the materials and the way the paper works with natural light. There is an ongoing theme of womanhood and passion and how these themes have developed over time in her works. As Förstner gathered materials, she felt inspiration from the tiles that ornate the Portuguese houses in the villages surrounding Raizvanguarda, and she uses it as a format in many of her works.

Förstner states: “I started developing an artwork trying to bring forward their dreams, suffering, and lives reflected in old pictures taken usually once in their lives as a sort of proof of existence”.

As Förstner works, she thinks a lot about the women in the pictures, which are dated all the way back to before the 1920’s. She reflects on how their lives must’ve been and how they felt about the roles they were expected to fill. The pictures, as well as the other materials, are very precious to her and she works with it with remarkable consideration. For Förstner, the way she alters the pictures and other materials, it’s a way of commemorating the women, to pay an homage to their memory and to raise awareness of their situation.

On the 26th of August 2017 at 8 pm, Paula Förstner will have an exhibition at Raizvanguarda where she will exhibit her works in collaboration with the artist and photographer, Beatriz M. Barrio.

If you want to see more of Paula’s work, go visit her web page.


I S L A N D (s): Invitation to Participate in RV’s ZINE 2016



Invitation to Participate in RAIZVANGUARDA’s ZINE. Issue One: I S L A N D (s)

A ZINE is an independently or self-published booklet, with small circulation, presented in an unpolished layout and unusual design. Rugged, individualized, and much more charismatic than larger, more popular magazines whose content is often dictated by their advertisers.

Requesting your contribution for our first Zine, a compilation of submissions from creative people all around the world, focusing on the theme of I S L A N D (s). What thoughts, feelings and ideas related move through you upon focusing on the word Island? How does the concept relate to your experiences and work?

Some suggestions for your participation:
– Share any of your creative works including photographs, collages, drawings or any other visual pieces
– Write an article, story or poem related to the theme

How it works:

Step 1. Send a confirmation, a brief summary of your creative contribution, and the signed and scanned copy of  Artist – Organisation Agreement to e-mail:

Step 2.  Create your piece (collage, article, poem, story, photograph, drawing, etc. ) for the first RV ZINE.

Step 3.  Send your contribution and all additional materials in electronic version to e-mail: Message subject: RV ZINE, authors name and surname. The files must be sent in PDF or JPEG format and signed by the author. Deadline 31/10/2016.

Step 4. Receive your online copy of RV ZINE issue one.

For further information or questions please contact Iryna Kolotylo at


I S L A N D (s)

Small // Large
Dangerous // Protective
Inhabited // Deserted
Natural // Artificial
Touristic // Undiscovered
Dreams // Fears
Freedom // Claustrophobia
Creativity // Confusion
Found // Lost

RV interview: Jessica Ostrowicz


RAIZVANGUARDA launches its Artist in Residency Spotlight Series. Over the coming months we will be interviewing the wide range of artists who attend our residency programme giving you insight into the individual and the work they produce. Today we shine the light on our previous artist in residence Jessica Ostrowicz, installation based artist from Dresden, Germany.

As a young female artist, do you agree to be called this? Or do you prefer to simply be called ‘an artist’?

I used to be very opposed to being called a female artist, because I was under the impression that people would read feminine or feminism into everything I make. Feminism can often be used as a dirty word, or at least interpreted as such. In fact, I used to try to work in a way that I considered more masculine, because often there is a difference between the way men work and the way women work. I think it wasn’t until within the last few months that I stopped caring. Art that is forced loses something of its integrity, and the language built up between artist and medium doesn’t work so fluidly. I often like to think of artworks with a similar status to the artist or viewer, although perhaps it is more a language than a person. But in any case, as sensual and sexual as art is and can be, it certainly isn’t gender specific. But that in itself is a much wider topic of conversation, and one that doesn’t really have anything to do with my practice. To answer your question most simply, I much prefer the term artist, but I won’t refer to myself by that term until I finish studying.

4m x 2m x 3m, oil and ink on plastic and soap, 2014

Throughout history, many female artists’ work often has not been as well acknowledged as that of men. How do you feel about it living in the 21st century in Europe? How is it to be in the art scene as a woman?

There are several themes to address here… The first is one that I won’t dwell on for long, and that is the fact that you have asked specifically about being a female artist In Europe. I can’t speak on behalf of other parts of the world, but I am fairly sure the experiences of female artists differ hugely according to culture. In many ways women working in the arts in Europe are very lucky. We can make whatever we want. I won’t say that we can do this without being judged, but great art will never exist without criticism, even if it’s to the tune of critical acclaim. The aforementioned ‘problem’ of femininity and feminism is perhaps one struggle. We are artists making art, not female artists making feminine art and male artists making masculine art. At least, not necessarily. But in the grand scheme of things it is still harder for women than for men. Women remain hugely under-represented.  In 2014 only 14.42% of solo shows in 28 of London’s leading public galleries were by women. This isn’t particularly a sexist issue, but it is an issue. I think one of the main problems is that further along the line in artists’ careers, the individual artist requires support structures. For some reason, women do not have these in place as well as men.


On a more personal level, I have experienced sexism on numerous occasions. I think one side of this is that I work in installation, and therefore one side of my work is manual building. I have had fellow (male) artists stand over me and watch what I am doing as if expecting me to need help or advice. The thing is that often I can’t install my work alone, and it would be idiotic for me to try. But I ask for help because the installation of large scale work requires a team, not because I am incapable in some way. I always try to assemble my work with people who work as a team and are willing to listen to my instruction and vision, rather than with people who think they are helping out ‘the woman’, rather than the artist and project leader. On three occasions I have been told by male artists that I will never be successful because at some point my maternal hormones will kick in, and when I act upon it my male colleagues will get ahead. There are very few things that make me more angry, especially as someone ambitious. But I have learned that sometimes I just have to work even harder than they do. And to politely ‘extend my middle right hand digit and say “would you like a lemon and lime with that mister?»’


Jessica, on your website there are the words: ‘From the moment of birth we are a product of something: a product of our family, a product of our culture, of our education, of our choices, the paths we traverse, the people with whom we come into contact…’ So what are you a product of? Please name some of the most significant people of events that have influenced your development as an artist.

I am a product of almost everything I have come into contact with. Even if I have chosen against some of the things that have crossed my path, those decisions have changed who I could have been and pushed me into another direction, or kept me on a track that I was given the opportunity to leave. Potential is a fascinating thing… People throw around the word freedom all too easily, but if you think of one possible definition, it is someone who is without contingencies. I’m not sure if this is possible. In fact, I’m sure it’s not.

One conversation that has stuck in my head was with a painting professor five years ago. She said ‘Once you have said something, you’ve said it, it’s out there. You can’t take it back’. Given that I work with language, this was simple and useful advice. Some of the themes that I deal with in my work are extremely personal, and I have learned to speak about them without speaking about them. But I address them in the language that I can best speak, and that is the visual language which I have developed. To the viewer, this makes these themes abstract. That’s the beauty of art. Some people won’t be able to get close to the real meaning, some people will be able to respond to it whilst not knowing why it has been made or what my intentions are, and some will understand. I say a lot with my work, I am a conceptual artist, but I layer everything behind a heavy gauze. And so it should be. If I wanted to be completely vulnerable I would walk naked through the street reciting my life story. Although that’s probably already been done.

Do your usually have personal stories behind your art works?

I draw inspiration from personal experience because I know myself and I can speak sincerely about my own thoughts and my own experiences. But a large part of my work addresses thoughts I have about what I think art is. I discuss my views on what I believe to be an inconsistent triad between artist, artwork and viewer, and directly confront the spectator and their gaze, speaking in the first person from the perspective of the artwork.

450cm x 200cm (x2), oil, varnish and ink on paper, glue and plastic, 2015
Imagining Sisyphos Happy, 45cm x 38cm, 2015

Birds. Millions of birds in your last artworks, painted, drawn or cut out. Why is the symbol of the bird do important to you lately?

To understand the image of the bird, you first have to look down to the bottom of my work. The birds usually mutate into spiders. Why? Because some people believe that chaos and freedom and the same, and some people believe that freedom and chaos are different. I have had a number of people very close to me over the last few years say that they need to be free, and this has often occurred during instances that have terrified me. The symbol of the bird is associated with freedom, however I repeat it so many times that it becomes chaotic to the point of abstraction, and then I pull spiders out of them, a symbol that for me, as always been something nightmarish. However I always find ways of constructing the chaos, so that actually what at first appears abstract is something formed from a careful structure. I’m not sure why yet, I guess that is why I continue to work with this theme. Perhaps I am trying to find reason in chaos.

The Absurd is Born, 2016 Galerias da Casa do Artista, Gois, Portugal

You use different materials: oil and chalk, ink, plastic, special paper. How do you choose the material that you work with?

I used to be a very proud painter. I tried to make paint work for every exploration of my concept. This doesn’t work. There’s a point at which paint wasn’t adequate for me, and wasn’t the best way of transmitting what I wasn’t to say. I do still paint, but only when it makes sense. I guess that the common theme with the materials I choose is that they are almost exclusively white (except paint obviously, although the paintings invariably always come out in a shade of pale), and I also work with materials that allow transparency. I think the viewer to be involved in the work, rather than a removed spectator. When the work is transparent, the viewer lends their moving shadow to the experience of the work had by the person on the other side of it, and vice versa. I also think that an artist shouldn’t hide behind their work. I guess the transparency is something of a metaphor for the veil that my art often is between myself and the viewer.

Góis, Portugal

You’ve said that you like to be inspired by the space in which you find yourself, and to build something accordingly. Did the location of our residency have some influence on your work?

It influenced the way in which I made my work. The place was extremely peaceful and open, to a point where time no longer seemed like an issue. It was extended, but not dull, just long and accommodating. Some of my installation work follows a very repetitive process. I sometimes liken the process of artists to Sisyphos; repeated working and minimal satisfaction at the end.  Masturbating with no finish. This is the thing that drives us to continue making and to make something better. I comment on this behaviour by working with repetition. “Work makes freedom(?)” In my atelier, this kind of work is exhausting, but at the residency I was able to get into a sort of zen head space, whereby the repetitive actions brought me peacefully into a space of quiet meditative contemplation. This actually brought my productivity levels up.

What is more exciting for you: the process of creation or the result and public presentation?

Exciting isn’t a word I would use for any of those stages. Each of the stages are equally important. An artist who doesn’t make art to be seen isn’t an artist, they’re a self-help therapist. The process of creation is something I often describe as being in love. Sometimes it’s magical, it’s a high like no other, sometimes it gives energy, sometimes it takes energy, sometimes you want to abandon it, sometimes you just don’t care, sometimes you are miserable. But the rush you get when it goes well! I guess that is something akin to exciting. The result doesn’t exist for me; I don’t tend to finish. I reach a point where I have to stop. More often than not, stopping is just as deflating a feeling as it sounds. It’s the end of the relationship. There is no great climax or applause, just a ceasing of making. The next stage, the exhibiting, is terrifying. One of the reasons I make art is for this rush. But it’s like tightrope walking. There is such a fine line between excitement and fear. Yes, everyone is looking, which can be exhilarating. But how are they looking? What does their gaze say? Do they feel moved? Do they even care? The gaze of people who do not know that they are looking at the result or the end of a period of torrid love and work, can be very cold. But I predominantly with installation. I haven’t exhibited a painting for over a year. Seeing the pieces I have built come together in a space to form the final work can be, well, exciting.

Financial Support for Artists

We encourage artists to apply for grants or sponsors in their countries of origin to support their residency programme. We are also happy to provide letters of support, or invitation letters, to support your application to a funder or embassy.

Below you will find some institutions that provide financial support in Portugal:

The GDA Foundation program – finances workshops and residencies, in order to encourage continuing education, technical and artistic appreciation and further theoretical research in each of the arts support represented by GDA: Dance, Drama and Music.

Instituto Camões – Research and study of the Portuguese culture

Centro Nacional da Cultura – supports training or creation projects submitted by young people aged up to 30 years, residing in Portugal or Portuguese, in the fields of music, literature, visual and fine arts at

Below are some organisations and networks that provide funding and advice outside of Portugal:

European Cultural Foundation – Step Beyond Travel Grant funds emerging artists and supports all kinds of cross-border creativity. They give priority to individuals up to 35 years and/or in the first 10 years of their career to travel between EU and countries bordering the EU.

Cultural 360 – Provides up to date information about funding opportunities and for artistic practice between Asia and Europe.

International Fund for the Promotion of Culture – support the production of cultural and artist work and the organization of cultural and artistic events of national, regional and/or international scope contributing to the establishment of culture and development strategies and programme at IFPC

Embassy or Consulate Support

In addition to the above, previous residents have also been successful in receiving funds from their embassy or consualte in Portugal. If you require a letter of support for your application to an embassy, please let us know in advance.