October 9, 2015 - Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art - Helena Almeida
October 9, 2015

Helena Almeida

Helena Almeida, Saída negra (Black Exit) (detail), 1995.

Helena Almeida
My work is my body, my body is my work
17 October 2015–10 January 2016
Opening: 16 October, 10pm

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
Porto 4150-417


Jeu de Paume, Paris
9 February–22 May 2016 

Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels 
Autumn 2016 

My work is my body, my body is my work surveys the career of renowned Portuguese artist Helena Almeida (b. 1934, Lisbon), featuring over 80 works in painting, photography, video, and drawing. Since the 1960s, Almeida has produced a singular body of work in which the importance of the body—registering, occupying, and defining space—and its performative encounter with the world has been a defining concern. Almeida’s early abstract painting critically addressed the limits of pictorial space and the literal conditions of a painting, inflected by a feminist and post-revolutionary stance toward classicism and representation. This interest extended to the medium of photography in the 1970s, introducing the distinct space of the artist’s studio, as well as the female body, fragmented or partially obscured, as a recurring presence. This body, as the conflicted site of both political and personal expression, encounters and manipulates the surrounding world—it acts, touches, senses and marks, leaving behind its moving traces as drawn lines, shaping itself into a variety of outlines and expressive forms. Along with the artist’s “inhabited” paintings and the photographic series for which she is best known, the exhibition also features rarely-seen work from throughout her artistic career, including Almeida’s drawings, in which she meticulously sketches choreography and composition.

Parallel to the exhibition, one of the artist’s major works in the Serralves Collection, (Untitled, 1994−95), will be presented in the National Theatre of Porto (Teatro Nacional São João – TNSJ) between 17 October and 13 December. 

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 is organized by the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, in association with Jeu de Paume, Paris and Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels.

A comprehensive catalogue on the artist’s working process and the place of her work within the broader context of the Portuguese and international art scene since the 1970s, accompanies the exhibition, with contributions by Bernardo Pinto de Almeida, Connie Butler, and Peggy Phelan, and an interview with the artist conducted by the curators of the exhibition. 

A programme of tours, talks and screenings accompanies the exhibition. 

About the artist
Helena Almeida was born in Lisbon in 1934. She studied painting at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts and has been exhibiting her work regularly since the late 1960s. Major exhibits in institutions worldwide include Kettle’s Yard (2009), Cambridge (2009), Fundación Telefónica, Madrid (2009), The Drawing Centre, New York (2004), the Sydney Biennial (2004), and Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela (2000). Almeida represented Portugal at the Venice Biennial in 1982 and 2005. 

About Serralves 
The Serralves Museum of Contemporary is the foremost museum for contemporary art in Portugal, and one of Europe’s most renowned institutions for contemporary art and culture. Uniquely sited on the grounds of the Serralves Foundation, which also comprise a park and the Serralves Villa, a landmark art deco building, the Museum designed by Álvaro Siza opened in 1999. Through its exhibitions, collection, publications, performing arts and public programmes, the Museum fosters the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and culture in Portugal and around the world. 

For further information and image requests, please contact imprensa [​at​] serralves.pt

*Helena Almeida, Saída negra (Black Exit) (detail), 1995. 5 black-and-white photographs, 71 x 48 cm each. Collection of Norlinda and José Lima, on long term loan to Núcleo de Arte da Oliva Creative Factory. Courtesy Núcleo de Arte da Oliva Creative Factory. Photo: Aníbal Lemos.


Helena Almeida at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
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