All I want: Starting Point

Discover the selection of works that integrate this thematic section of the exhibition “All I want – Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020” followed by the curators' text.

By Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Curators: Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand

Self-Portrait (c. 1900) by Aurélia de SousaOriginal Source: Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis

Section 1 – Starting Point

The central body of all the works gathered in the first third of the show, this section brings together issues that are germane to the entire exhibition. Aurélia de Sousa's 1900 Self-Portrait, the earliest of all the works exhibited, signals a first historical moment of the female authorial stance. Through her assertive, outwardly directed gaze, Aurélia affirms the passage of women's place in art from muse to author.

Self-Portrait (c. 1900) by Aurélia de SousaOriginal Source: Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis

Self-Portrait, 1900
Oil on canvas
45,6 x 36,4 cm
Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis, inv. 878 Pin MNSR

La Scala ou Les Yeux (1937) by Maria Helena Vieira da SilvaOriginal Source: Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, Paris

The encounter of this founding gaze with La Scala ou Les Yeux, by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, creates a fundamental, symbolic and irradiating tension between authorial singularity and the modern kaleidoscopic vision. 

La Scala ou Les Yeux (1937) by Maria Helena Vieira da SilvaOriginal Source: Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, Paris

La Scala ou Les Yeux, 1937
Oil on canvas
60 x 92 cm 
Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, Paris, inv. CR 224

Man with plough (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

These sophisticated paintings are juxtaposed with a group of ceramics by Rosa Ramalho. Popular and grotesque in nature, Ramalho's works intuitively meld the utilitarian with the decorative, masculine with feminine, human with animal, Catholicism with paganism.

Man with plough (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Man with plough, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
10,9 x 21,4 x 8 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 153

Animal (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Animal, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
14,6 x 7,6 x 8,8 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 05.3.33

Adapted goat (1965) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Adapted goat, 1965
Inorganic material, glazed clay
17 x 21,6 x 10 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 1693

Plate with monogram (1965) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Plate with monogram, 1965
Inorganic material, glazed clay
20,6 x 20 x 2,4 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 1673

Monkey with chain (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Monkey with chain, 1960
Inorganic material, glazed clay
25,5 x 15,3 x 8,1 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.15

She-monkey (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

She-monkey, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
13,2 x 8,2 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.47

Big-headed man (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Big-headed man, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
27,6 x 13,1 x 12,8 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.21

Big-headed woman (1960) by Rosa RamalhoOriginal Source: Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos

Big-headed woman, 1960
Inorganic material, painted clay
20,2 x 11,2 x 12,5 cm
Museu de Olaria / Município de Barcelos, inv. 03.1.24

From the series "At Eye Level" (2008) by Susanne ThemlitzOriginal Source: Courtesy Galeria Vera Cortês

If Susanne Themlitz' derisory sculptures update this universe by reminding us of the contemporary awareness of the body as a composite and fragmentary entity, Ana León tests the limits of the metamorphoses rehearsed by all these pieces through a film in which animated figures merge and fuse together, at times disappearing into formless matter.

From the series "At Eye Level" (2008) by Susanne ThemlitzOriginal Source: Courtesy Galeria Vera Cortês

From the series "At Eye Level", 2008
Terracota, ceramic and plywood
58 x 36 x 35 cm
Courtesy Galeria Vera Cortês

Jeux…Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Jeux…, 1998
Video, colour, sound, 4:3, PAL, 3'01''; Ed. 2/4
Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, inv. FS 1651

Jeux…Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

(Click on the image and navigate through the room)

Moi, réflechissant sur la peinture (1936/1937) by Maria Helena Vieira da SilvaOriginal Source: Collection Fundação Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva

This exhibition brings together about two hundred works by forty female Portuguese artists. Its primary objective is to assist in rectifying the systematic erasure that works by these artists – like so of their sisters elsewhere in the world – have suffered since time immemorial.

Focusing on works produced between 1900 and 2020, All I Want unfolds along a number of axes that reveal the artists' clear desire to assert themselves in the face of the dominant systems of consecration:

the gaze, the body (their body, the bodies of others, the body as a political entity), the space and the way in which they occupy it (house, nature, studio), the means by which they cross disciplinary boundaries (painting and sculpture, of course, but also video, performance and sound) and the determination with which they advance within an ideal of construction that transforms, both themselves and those in their orbit.

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Continue the visit to the exhibition by accessing the following section:

All I want: The Place of the Artist
Credits: Story

The exhibition All I want: Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020, in its first moment at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, is part of the cultural program that takes place in parallel to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021.

Exhibition organized by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in co-production with the Center of Contemporary Creation Olivier Debré, Tours, and with the collaboration of the Plano Nacional das Artes (Portugal).

Curatorship and text:
Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand


Get to know in detail the universe of artists presented in this section through a text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes: 
Aurélia de Sousa
Maria Helena Vieira da Silva
Rosa Ramalho
Susanne Themlitz
Ana León

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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