Paula Rego: Rupture and Continuity

Paula Rego: Rupture and Continuity

Paula Rego (1935-2022) is one of the best-known worldwide contemporary Portuguese artists. She lived and worked in London, where she studied painting, at the Slade School of Fine Art, between 1952-1956, developing a personal figurative language. It will be through the vast universe of stories — from traditional Portuguese tales to fairy tales; from Portuguese and English literature, from plays written for theatre or from adaptations of these stories for Walt Disney’s cinema — that her figurative research through fantasy and imagination gains, in her work, greater importance.

Her unsubmissive personality and the fight for freedom of expression led her to declare independence from the artistic movements of her time and to a constant redefinition of her figurative language. This distinctive trait forced her to a constant subversion of the conventions and limits imposed by any kind of artistic tradition or the constraints of a specific technique.

This exhibition features works from the period of Paula Rego’s recognition and affirmation in London, during the 1980s, and builds on the presentation of works that justified the artist’s international recognition, including reference series from her career, such as the Jane Eyre lithographs or the set of prints and paintings from the 1998–2000 “Untitled” series, more commonly known as abortion series.

Therefore, a different approach to the artist’s work is proposed, highlighting key periods in the construction of her figurative universe, giving particular emphasis to her prints, relating it directly to the inducing purpose of the Côa Museum.

Curatorship: Catarina Alfaro