Helena Almeida

(Above) Work by Yves Klein
Portuguese artist Helena Almeida is well known for her self portrait work in which she photographed herself using analogue black and white photography and applied paint cleverly over the image to create a narrative. She always uses the same shade of blue very much like that used in monochromatic work created by Yves Klein, which some people believe has something to do with her protesting at Yves Klein's house in the 70's against the objectification of women in his artwork. As in one of her pieces shown on the top right she appears to be eating the shade of blue which is a colour that was very much dominated by Yves Klein in the art world. 

Almeida's work is very much a private exploration of her own craft in breaking the confines of the 2 dimensional artistic canvas. This is shown through the used of mixed media and how the two communicate with one another which is what really draws me to Almeida's work. It just feels like such an emotive form of personal expression to me and her hopeless expressions not only act as a form of physical liberation but also reveal a great deal of emotion drawn from living in Portugal under the dictatorship of Antonio Salazar and his right winged regime, which inspired many artists such as Helena Almeida living in Portugal at that time. 
This image is one of my favourites from Almeida's work as I find it incredibly emotionally captivating. In the image we see Aleimda looking at her self in a mirror with this expression of hopelessness on her face. At first I thought she was intending to give the impression of painting herself from the view of her inner negative voice, hence the look on her face. But after looking at it longer I realised that the paint is being used here as a eraser as if she is painting over her own face to hide it. The interesting thing to me about this image is that she appears to be painting over the person in the image we would usually assume to be the real person and not the reflection. It makes me quite dizzy to think about but because the reflection is scribbling over the real person then maybe she isn't real, however now the viewpoint is reversed we as the viewers are being made into the reflection, meaning we therefore inhabit the painting and not Almeida. This labyrinth of thoughts created by this image is what I love about Almeida's work so much. That what can seem a very minimal image can create so much narrative and intrigue. 

Inspired by Almeida's technique I decided to print some of my own images and paint over them, in an attempt to create a new narrative to my images and change the tone of them.

The paint I used was not completely opaque creating an interesting effect as you can still make out some of the detail in the image behind it but I do feel they lack the striking contrast that Almeida's images have. I experimented with brush strokes and how they can interact with my subject matter

The image above was the result of making my paint very wet and painting over one side and then turning the paper over to reveal this very grainy and vintage looking image which I really like.

Through doing these experiments I have discovered an interesting technique of image making that I would like to take further in my future experiments, I especially want to try using paint more as I really enjoyed getting more arty with my image manipulations.

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