Menez

Learn about the artist's universe through a text accompanied by a selection of works from the exhibition “All I want – Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020”

By Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes

Untitled (1986) by MenezOriginal Source: Collection Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento, on loan to Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto

As a self-taught artist Menez painted as she had learned: as part of a lone journey. Her work is a soliloquy, an enigmatic eternal conversation with herself that the observer can contemplate without ever truly deciphering.

Untitled (1986) by MenezOriginal Source: Collection Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento, on loan to Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto

Untitled, 1986
Acrylic paint on canvas
155 x 190 cm
Collection Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento, on loan to Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, inv. #0146

Untitled (1988) by MenezOriginal Source: Collection Fundo de Pintura do Ministério das Finanças

Her painting soon moves from abstraction to figuration, creating ambiances that constitute complex narratives in an abyss, spaces that demultiply into other spaces through the successive evocation of doors behind doors, or paintings within paintings. These spaces of reflection, introspection, reading and work (in particular her studio) are the epicentre and object of her painting.

Untitled (1988) by MenezOriginal Source: Collection Fundo de Pintura do Ministério das Finanças

The pictorial construction of these settings is rigorous and programmatic, being established from a basis in abstract geometric grids that demarcate and organise planes, perspectives and volumes. The human figure, almost always female, solitary and melancholic, is introduced as a model, as a reflection in the mirror, or as the subject of the painting itself. The gesturality of the hands and faces represented deepens the theatricality and intimacy of the scenes, whose vanishing point is often found outside. 

Untitled (1988) by MenezOriginal Source: Collection Fundo de Pintura do Ministério das Finanças

Untitled, 1988
Acrylic paint on canvas
135 x 164 cm
Collection Fundo de Pintura do Ministério das Finanças, inv. 007975 SGMF

Untitled (1986) by MenezOriginal Source: Collection Manuel de Brito

Untitled, 1986
Acrylic paint on canvas
81 x 100 cm
Collection Manuel de Brito 

Untitled (1987) by MenezOriginal Source: Collection Elmano Lerma de Sousa Costa

Menez's erudite and metaphysical painting evokes a numb dreamlike atmosphere, an interiority that is uniquely her own and that is shaped silently, in countless layers, gradations and tonal variations, by the diaphanous quality of colour and light.

Untitled (1987) by MenezOriginal Source: Collection Elmano Lerma de Sousa Costa

Untitled, 1987
Acrylic paint on canvas
135,5 x 164 cm
Collection Elmano Lerma de Sousa Costa

Learn more about the artist:
Retrospectiva de Menez | RTP Arquivos

Credits: Story

Selection of works presented at the exhibition All I want: Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020, in its first moment at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, within the scope 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).

Curators:
Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand


Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes
Selection of online resources Maria de Brito Matias


Learn more about Menez's works presented in the context of this exhibition:
All I want: Vernacular Life

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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All I Want
Over 240 artworks by more than 40 women: Explore the new exhibition celebrating Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020
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