Cambridge, UK

Helena Almeida

Kettle’s Yard

One of the early works that best encapsulates the production of the Lisbon-based artist Helena Almeida is Pintura Habitada (Inhabited Painting), 1976. This is a photographic self-portrait in which the artist appears to emerge from a flowery background, wearing handmade white coveralls and a white square canvas around her torso. As the title suggests, Almeida was attempting to unite painting with daily life, and the merging of the medium with her own body offered the path to such a goal. Swimming against the current of a Portuguese art scene marked by the delayed acceptance of the international neo-avant-gardes, Almeida attuned herself to the then timely strategy of dematerialization, abandoning painting in favor of black-and-white photography and adopting performance as her means of expression. This option represented the fusion of the roles of artist and model—or subject and object of

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