Inside Me celebrates the extraordinary work of Portuguese artist Helena Almeida, in her first UK exhibition. Over the last forty years Almeida has combined painting, photographic imagery, performance and drawing to explore intimacy, sensation and the limits of the body.
Although the artist is always in front of the camera, she insists that her works are not self-portraits. Dressed in black since the early 1970s, sometimes with objects or furniture found in her studio, Almeida assumes positions that she has painstakingly choreographed. The resulting images, to which paint marks are sometimes added in bold blue or red, often depict ‘impossible’ actions – paint marks entering the mouth, the artist’s body extending beyond its limits. Many works also allude to the experiences of touch and sound, or distance and silence. Through these ‘pseudo performances’, Almeida attempts to inhabit – literally, to get inside of – painting.
Recent major exhibitions in Madrid, New York and Sydney have brought greater international recognition of Almeida’s significance, whose work is also held in many significant collections world-wide. The artist has also represented Portugal twice at the Venice Biennial, in 1982 and 2005.
Inside Me presents a compelling overview of her work, revealing its overriding themes of surface and depth, the real and imagined, inside and out.
Helena Almeida: Inside Me is a Kettle’s Yard exhibition curated by Filipa Oliveira and Elizabeth Fisher, organised in collaboration with John Hansard Gallery. Supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Inside Me was first shown at Kettle’s Yard in Autumn 2009.