Portuguese Artist- Performance Art, Painting, Photography, Body Art
Helena Almeida studied painting at the School of Fine Arts in Lisbon, where her first solo exhibition took place in 1967. As she says, “My work is my body, my body is my work.” While her work is sometimes described as body art, she uses a variety of mediums, photographs, performances, drawings, and videos, to question the nature of creation itself, its infinitesimal character. Her ambiguous attitudes, simple scenery, and poor accessories – metal wire, hemp, mirrors, powdered pigments, primitive clothing – contribute to austere and poetic displays of creation and the space in between. Mostly photographed without a face and often clad in clearly symbolic feminine clothing, like a dress, black skirt, and black high heels (Voar [Fly], 2001), she gives the self-portrait genre an additional layer. The intensity of the black and white images she creates, enhanced in certain strategic spots – inside her mouth, the soles of her feet, the palm of her hands – with blue or red paint, gives these studies a classical quality borrowed from another era (Estudo para um enriquecimento interior [Study for Inner Improvement], 1977).