Helena Almeida - Photographs London Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galeria Helga Alvear, 2002
    Private Collection, Spain

  • Exhibited

    El fantasma de una oportunidad - Un diálogo entre la Colección Sánchez-Ubiría y la Colección António Cachola, La Nave, Madrid, 26 February - 3 March 2019, this lot

  • Literature

    Helena Almeida: Feet on the Ground, Head in the Sky, Lisbon: Centro Cultural de Belém, 2004, p. 178, this lot

  • Catalogue Essay

    What interests me is always the same thing: space ... But what I want to work on is emotions. They constitute different ways of telling a story.’
    Helena Almeida

    A woman’s body in a knee-length black dress, her hands clenched at her waist as she stands with one black high heel on and the other off. The discarded shoe lies on its side, with red paint on the insole and on the ground in front. Since 1969, Helena Almeida has produced photographs mainly in black and white. For her painstakingly detailed creative process, she begins with preparatory drawings of choreography that she faithfully follows in the studio. She then films herself, observing how her body moves and explores the space. Once perfected, her private performance is photographed by her husband Arthur Rosa. Refusing to be categorised, Almeida is not just photographer, painter, sculptor or performance artist, but all of these, treating herself as the canvas and using her body to paint and draw. Her body stands for all and any body, and is no longer her own.

    Seduzir [Seduce], offered here, is from a body of work Almeida created between 2000 and 2002. Some critics posit that this series investigates the art of allurement and seduction, while others argue that it explores the death of Almeida’s sister. Through these images, which number approximately 45, we see Almeida’s body in a variety of poses, full figure or in fragments, some with red paint and others without. In the present lot, as with most of her works, the face is out of the frame, enabling the viewer to focus on the figure in the space, on her legs, her feet and her high heels. The red acrylic paint, evoking blood, draws our eye to the discarded shoe; the brightness of the pigment is heightened against the monochromatic imagery. Since the 1960s, Almeida has worked almost exclusively in her studio. In these later works, she frames her actions within these confines, capturing fragmented edges of the space as seen in the present composition.

    In addition to her numerous exhibitions worldwide, Almeida was included in the 1982 and 2005 Venice Biennales. She has been exhibited internationally, including her major retrospectives Helena Almeida: Feet on the Ground, Head in the Sky at Serralves Foundation in Porto (2003) and Jeu de Paume’s Corpus (2016) in which other works from this series were exhibited. Other Seduzir works reside in the collection of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.



Seduzir [Seduce]

Unique chromogenic print with red paint, flush-mounted.
Image: 183 x 123.5 cm (72 x 48 5/8 in.)
Frame: 189.5 x 129.5 cm (74 5/8 x 50 7/8 in.)

Signed, titled and dated in ink on the recto; titled and dated in ink on the reverse of the frame.

This work is unique.

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £47,500

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London Auction 16 May 2019