Tate Modern

Helena Almeida until 4 November 2018

Boiler House Level 2 East
Helena Almeida, ‘Drawing (with pigment)’ 1995–9
Helena Almeida, Drawing (with pigment) 1995–9. Tate. © Helena Almeida

Portuguese artist Helena Almeida crosses artistic boundaries to combine painting, performance, sculpture and photography

Helena Almeida began her career in the 1960s as a painter. She became interested in ways to expand painting into three-dimensional space, treating the canvas as a sculptural object.

In the 1970s she brought elements of performance and photography into her work. In Inhabited Canvas 1976, a sequence of images shows the artist moving around the frame used to stretch the canvas for a painting. At first her figure seems to be contained within the wooden frame, then she steps beyond it while remaining inside the frame of the photograph. Finally she passes out of view altogether. In such works, Almeida has suggested, she becomes an object in the composition.

All of Almeida’s photographic works are made in the studio. She sees this as a space for experimentation where ideas can be imagined and tried out. She first develops her ideas as drawings, though she only began to exhibit these as artworks in the 2000s. The examples shown here, made from 1995 to 1999, plot out the position of her body and particularly her hands in preparation for actions that she will undertake and document through a combination of photography and painting.

Curated by Matthew Gale.


Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG
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