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The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art opens exhibition featuring the work of Helena Almeida
Helena Almeida, Pintura Habitada. Photo: Filipe Braga.

PORTO.- The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art presents “Helena Almeida: My work is my boody, my body is my work”, an exhibition showcasing the oeuvre of the renowned Portuguese artist Helena Almeida (Lisbon, 1934), spanning her work in the fields of painting, photography, video and drawing over her long carrier. The exhibition highlights the importance of the body — which registers, occupies and defines space — and its performative encounter with the world, featured throughout Almeida’s work from the mid-1960s until the present day.

This exhibition displays the artist’s ‘inhabited’ paintings and photographic series for which she is best known, and also features rarely exhibited works from her artistic career. Through her early abstract painting, Almeida introduces the central concerns that define her artistic practice across 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’.

Helena Almeida studied painting at the School of Fine Arts, Lisbon and has regularly exhibited her work from the late 1960. Her international exhibitions - in Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2009) Fundación Telefónica, Madrid (2009), The Drawing Centre, New York (2004), the Sydney Biennial (2004) and the Galician Centre of Contemporary Art, Santiago de Compostela (2000) - increased the recognition of her importance, whether in the context of Portuguese art or the wider international art scene. Helena Almeida has represented Portugal at the Venice Biennale on two occasions, in 1982 and 2005.

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 The catalogue includes hitherto unpublished essays by Peggy Phelan (Professor of Theatre, Performance and English at Stanford University), Cornelia W. Butler (Head Curator at the Hammer Museum,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.

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