‘Helena Almeida: My work is my body, my body is my work’ exhibits the work of renowned Portuguese artist Helena Almeida (Lisbon, 1934), surveying her work in painting, photography, video and drawing over nearly five decades. The exhibition will highlight the importance of the body — registering, occupying and defining space — and its performative encounter with the world throughout Almeida’s work from mid-1960s until today. Along with the artist’s ‘inhabited’ paintings and the photographic series for which she is best known, the exhibition will also feature rarely exhibited work from throughout her artistic career. Through her early abstract painting, Almeida introduces the central concerns that define her artistic practice in a variety of media, in particular an interest in breaking the confines of pictorial and narrative space, which has always played a fundamental role in her work. As Almeida states, ‘my painting is my body, my work is my body’.
To accompany the exhibition, Serralves will publish a catalogue, with separate editions in Portuguese, English and French, which will explore the artist’s working process and the importance of her oeuvre in the context of Portuguese art and feminist and performance-based artistic practices in the 1970s and subsequent decades. The catalogue includes hitherto unpublished essays by Peggy Phelan (Professor of Theatre, Performance and English at Stanford University), Connie Butler (Chief Curator at the Hammer Museum, University of Los Angeles) and Bernardo Pinto de Almeida (historian and art critic, professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto) as well as an interview with the artist by the exhibition’s curators, João Ribas and Marta Moreira de Almeida.
‘Helena Almeida: My work is my body, my body is my work’ is curated by João Ribas, Deputy Director and Senior Curator, and Marta Moreira de Almeida, Head of Exhibitions of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.
The exhibition will travel to Jeu de Paume in Paris (Spring 2016) and Wiels, Centre d’art contemporain in Brussels (Fall 2016).
Image: Helena Almeida, Saída negra [Black Exit], 1995 (detail). 5 B/w photographs. 71 x 48 cm (each). Coll. Norlinda and José Lima, on long term loan to Núcleo de Arte da Oliva Creative Factory. Photo: Aníbal Lemos, courtesy Núcleo de Arte da Oliva Creative Factory.