Curator: Valentín Roma
Heiress of Goya’s expressionism and of Hogarth’s mordacity, the work of Paula Rego (Lisbon, 1935) has shaped, for more than half a century, a persistent fable about human nature. Her paintings and drawings investigate with special attention how women have organized spaces of historical disobedience before the cultural imaginaries imposed from the patriarchy.
The work of Paula Rego (Lisbon, 1935) could be read as a great fable about human behavior. Thus, the bonds of domination and dependency, resentment of social injustices, persecution of irreverent bodies, or sexuality constrained by conservative moralism are themes that reappear cyclically in their paintings and give them a certain existential character. On the other hand, the works of Rego establish a caustic dialogue with the history and with the immediate time, they disagree of the cultural inheritance of the patriarchate and denounce the aggressions coming from the hierarchies of the power. By means of metaphors and exabruptos, combining literary stories and personal experiences, the artist has made for more than half a century of trajectory an energetic and antinormative imaginary populated by beings who jump from stupor to indiscipline, from coldness to violence.
The artistic evolution of Paula Rego is a true melting pot of diversities and reformulations. In this sense, his first pieces participate in an abstract language close to Vieira da Silva and Dubuffet, while his later production, close to the so-called London School – Bacon, Freud, Kossoff, Auerbach and Andrews, among others – should be considered Heir to Goya’s expressionism and Hogarth’s sarcasm, along with Daumier and Gutierrez Solana, in tune with Balthus’s disturbing atmospheres and Klossowski’s refined obscenity.
However, unlike earlier artists, Rego has incorporated a greater permeability with respect to other sources outside of painting – for example, theater, opera, popular narratives and cinema – and has also deployed a kind of broad Exploration of how women have organized their spaces of historical dissidence.
Family Lexicon, which takes the title of the novel of the same name by Natalia Ginzburg, is an exhibition that covers six decades of the work of Paula Rego: between her drawings of the fifties and some recent projects, not to mention the series devoted to abortion, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, and Misericordia, by Benito Pérez Galdós, or pieces inspired by the dramaturgy of Martin McDonagh.+info