Helena Almeida, ‘Le secret’, 1976, Richard Saltoun

I have never come to terms with canvas, paper or any other support. I believe that what has made me come forward out of these elements through using volumes, string and other shapes, is my deep dissatisfection with problems of space. Either by facing these problems or refuting them, they have become the constant of my work... It is a question of being able to communicate much deeper the ideology and character of “art”, accepting it and therefore being able to deny it. Through phetographs within drawings I believe that the same denial is made in a veriety of ways. What I am exposing here is not the “artist’s imprints”, but rather the representation and the denial of these imprints. This denial means a rediscovery of another space while it also tumbles into another poetic trap. This happens because by placing myself as the *artist” in a real space and the spectator in a virtual space s/he exchanges places with the support and becomes imaginary space. To become an unreality... To meet again in the peace of an inhabited drawing. (Helena Almeida, 1976)

Signature: Signed and dated on verso

Image rights: Copyright the artist. Courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery

Helena Almeida. Exhibition catalogue. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, 1983. Illus. pp (n.p)

About Helena Almeida

Helena Almeida’s black-and-white photographs of herself depict performances and various actions inflicted upon canvases, color, and other art objects. Inspired by the Neo-Concrete movement in Brazil, Almeida experiments with ways of shattering the confines of a canvases and pushing color into three dimensions. She paints vibrant colors onto many of her photographs, and attaches objects to others, forcing the depicted events into dialogue with the surface and transforming the past action or performance into something perpetually ongoing and present. For her best known series “Study for Inner Improvement” (1977), Almeida altered photographs of herself so that she appeared to be manipulating blue paint on the surface of the photographs. In her most famous photograph from the series she seems to be eating the blue paint, a symbolic gesture of domination over a color reminiscent of Yves Klein’s trademark International Klein Blue.

Portuguese, b. 1934, Lisbon, Portugal