Monday, March 30, 2015

Blurring the Boundaries

“The piece of work is my body, my body is the piece of work.”
Helena Almeida

The conceptional Portuguese artist Helena Almeida considers the differences between photography and painting to be superficial as she explores the elements of space and line which are central to both. And although her works are documented by the photographic medium she considers them to be paintings. As she has said “I consider myself a painter. I studied painting and my works, as far as I’m concerned, are paintings. It’s my way of painting.”

Likewise, Almeida’s position about her works being self portraits is strained. She is the subject of her works but insists they are not self portraits but rather a study of the relationship between the artist and the image. As she states “We look at the body and see that it ends abruptly at the feet and hands... why do I end there and begin here? Why am I tied to this form, why am I isolated in this way?”

From dressing herself as a canvas and going for a walk or climbing through the slash in a stretched canvas to painting herself out of her photographs, these private performances have been documented by her husband over the last 40 years. Thus producing a body of work that begs the question are the photographs a documentation of the performance or are they object de arte?

To which Almeida responds “The image of my body is not an image. I’m not producing a spectacle. I’m making a painting.”

The Exhibition Helena Almeida: Inhabited drawings / Desenhos habitados is currently on show at London’s Richard Saltoun Gallery until the 22nd of May.

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