Skip to main content


(1934 - 2018)

Helena Almeida was the daughter of esteemed Portuguese sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida. At a young age, she worked alongside her father in his studio, developing her creativity and taste. These natural instincts were honed and polished at the University of Lisbon from which she graduated in 1955. From her early pictorial exploration, her practice evolved towards the discovery of the expressive potential of black and white photography. In 1964, she received a grant to travel to Paris where she continued to observe and learn about materialist and conceptual currents as they emerged.

During this period, her art, like that of Lucio Fontana, challenged the illusionary nature of pictorial space. In a meta discourse, Almeida underlined the inherent material nature of painting by attacking the canvas. Where Fontana cut the canvas, Almeida allowed it to slip off the frame in order to reveal it. Perceptive and material structures were deconstructed, subverted, rearranged.

From 1975 onwards, her works combined various mediums in a singular manner. Painting, photography and performance coexisted in intersecting propositions that challenged their respective limits.

The following decade stood out for the artistic omnipresence of the body and an increased sense of theatrical performativity in her work. The art of the mise-en-scène and her performative ambition were accentuated in subsequent years, culminating around 2000 in a series entitled Seduce, in which limbs, specifically hands and feet in contact with the ground, play on expectations and focus and, of course, seduce. This reorientation of visual language and methodology have seen her classified as a body artist by numerous critics. Despite becoming the subject of her own art, Almeida was adamant that she did not produce self-portraits. The body depicted was not hers, but a universal one. As she often argued, her art was her body and her body was her art. She simply found a novel way to experiment with the fundamental question of her oeuvre: how does a body and its movement become an artwork? Under this lens, it is clear how coherent and consistent her production truly was.

Around 2007, alongside her husband, Arthur Rosa, she lent her photography a sculptural edge through the use of monumental scales that played on distance and perception, in and out of sight.

Having had such a long career, it is no wonder that Almeida emerged as a major figure of performance, conceptual and body art in Portugal, representing her country and heritage at the main cultural exhibitions around the world, such as the Vienna Biennale.

Aplūkot kolekciju

Pagal geografinę vietą