Helena Almeida: Work is Never Finished – Art Institute

Helena Almeida at the Art Institute
Photo courtesy of the Art Institute

?My work is my body; my body is my work,? Helena Almeida declared in 1969. Around this time the Portuguese artist took a photograph of herself wearing a blank pink-toned canvas across her torso?at once a comical and a radical gesture, and one that marked a crucial turn in her practice.

Start Date: Thursday, June 29, 2017
End Date: Monday, September 4, 2017
Time: 10:30am-5pm
Location: The Art Institute of Chicago – 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603

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Almeida had studied painting in Lisbon in the mid-1950s, but since 1969 has produced mainly black-and-white photographs of herself, sometimes painting or tinting them. These are never self-portraits, but the compositions always center on the artist?s body, always differently posed or contorted and almost always captured in the same corner of her studio.

She tends to work in long, sometimes open-ended series, and in recent decades she has printed her photographs at full-body scale or larger. While Almeida still calls herself a painter rather than a photographer, she is at the same time also a kind of dancer, engaged in an ongoing, experimental choreography of everyday gestures and physical limits, exploring the seemingly endless malleability of the body.

About the artist:
Helena Almeida emerged in the context of the late 1960s and 1970s?at the advent of feminist and performance-oriented art, when many young, avant-garde practitioners explored the physicality of the artist?s body and art making as a literal record of actions taken in the studio. The Art Institute?s exhibition is Almeida?s first solo show in the United States in more than a decade, and it emphasizes her work of the last two decades, including examples from several major photographic sequences since 2000.

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
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