Helena Almeida
Ano, local de nascimento 1934, Portugal
Helena Almeida studied painting at the School of Fine Arts in Lisbon, and began exhibiting in 1967 at the Galeria Buchholz in Lisbon. She began putting on performances, such as the one in which the phrase ouve-me (listen to me) is written on a piece of paper which closes off her mouth. The artwork itself is a series of black-and-white photographs (1979). Two colours appear in some of these works: blue and red, which sometimes cover the photograph. In collaboration with her husband, Artur Rosa, she produced a series of photographic productions with the intention of getting outside of herself (‘sair de si própria’), using video to assemble the photographs. She was the subject of a retrospective exhibit at the Belém Cultural Centre in Lisbon in 2004. The title of this exhibition, chosen by her commissioner Delfim Sardo, was Pés no Chão, Cabeça no Céu [Feet on Earth, Head in the Sky], which captures the duality in her work between everyday life and dreams. She represented Portugal at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Categorized as a ‘feminist’ artist by many critics, Helena Almeida rejects this interpretation, which she considers too simple: ‘I see myself without feminine or masculine gender, or rather with a hermaphrodite sensibility.’ J-FC