The work of Helena Almeida (1934), a key figure in the aesthetic renovation of Portuguese art since the 1970s, is rendered unclassifiable by its particular combination of photography, painting and performance. One characteristic that runs through Almeida’s work is her use of the body as object, subject and working tool.
The relevance of Almeida's work lies in the impossibility of inscribing the formal features of her peculiar artistic language within disciplinary boundaries and classification labels. And while it is true that the Portuguese artist expresses herself mainly through photography -of large format and austere black and white color- and of a sophisticated economy of compositional elements, in fact, the photographic shots constitutes the final act of a long and rigorous work process, which uses a large number of drawings, diagrams and previous video recordings.
In fact, her approach to the work of art is deeply marked by a complex plastic conception, which arises from the intimate desire to express oneself in a "spatial" order, that is, a need to overcome the limits of the painting. Photography, Painting, Drawing and Performance come together in the unified field of self-representation, where Almeida's body becomes the instrument with which to intervene, communicate and create spacial, pictorial and architectural space, in a phenomenological sense.
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