Paula Rego: spaces of disobedience




Jane Eyre Series. `Inspectión', 2001




Paula Rego was born in Lisbon in 1935 but she settled in London from the 50s, fact that did not separate her from her portuguese roots or the political worries of his country. Her early pieces use an abstract language, but she early defined her recognizable and personal style influenced by other artists (Bacon, Freud, Solana, Hogarth, Goya, etc.) and writers (Charlotte Brontë, Pérez Galdós and Martin McDonagh).




Abortion series, `Untitled´, 1998




Paula Rego´s artwork could be read as a great fable on human behaviour, where edifying morals doesn't exist. Throughout her subjects, many times hybridized, women-brid, women-dog, she reflects on cultural legacy of the patriarchy; and they speak out against the aggressions perpetrated by the hierarchies of power.




"The pillow man", 2004




The exhibition is organized in fifteen rooms, where Rego´s imaginary expresses. She takes a stand against the hypocrisy of bourgeois decorum; against women discrimination, by encouraging them to express their disobedient character, make their voices heard, ignoring male judgement; against traditional children’s stories, that she resignifies; against the abuse of power of any kind, that results in estrangement or subjugation; against private and social conflicts, through grotesque stories of black humour inspired by literature; against unwanted oppression exerted by political figures from Portugal history, etc.




"Snow White Playing with her Father's Trophies", 1995




All of this offers a view of Paula Rego´s critical thinking. Through her paintings, drawings and prints she invites visitor to reflect with her. It can be highlighted her series on the subject of abortion, which she made after a referendum that was held on decriminalising it in Portugal, in 1998, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, and Misericordia, by Benito Pérez Galdós. And other artworks such as The Pillowman, Scarecrow or The Old Republic, all of them with a clear interest in fighting social injustices.




"Shakespeare's room", 2006



The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.