01 04 2022 Antigo Matadouro do Porto

Porto's Old Abattoir. The first records.

António Júlio Duarte Porto, July 25th, 2021

This first phase of the work was a scouting of the territory: getting to know and understanding the structure of the building. After that, because it is a ruin, trying to perceive things that are not visible.

I was interested in registering details of the building's architecture, and of the function for which it had been built - a slaughterhouse. That had to be there, in the images, for a better understanding of its original purpose, although it is, at times, already diluted; in the meantime it has had other uses – a dog shelter, a cultural space, etc. I tried to understand that functional side, but already thinking about how it is going to be changed. It is interesting to take on a building that has had so many uses in the city and that will soon have yet a new design and purpose.

Photographing a space that has been actually built and abandoned like this one is much different from starting to document an empty space, like my two previous works (the Lisbon Cruise Terminal and the Gramaxo Foundation). When you look at it, there is something very appealing about ruins. There is this romantic side of having a building with a long legacy, with many lives. In a way, I'm accessing the life of the building, and that is very appealing, even too much so - sometimes you have to take a step back from the beauty of the ruin, from that ever-present and easier side.

For this work I decided to use different formats, and that has to do, for me personally, with what the building is asking from me, or what I ask from it. What interested me the most was that it had this horrible side, it had been an efficient killing machine. The building was designed to have a good use of natural light, but there is yet another kind of light, which comes from the fact that it is now a ruin. The light inside - the light fixtures and their use, and the building design – is reminiscent of a church; this similarity was interesting: the architecture of the abattoir being close to a church's. Maybe that was what excited me the most.