Lourdes Castro e um oceano e1655292633333 1024x1024 1

Lourdes Castro

Funchal, 1930 – Funchal, 2022

The artist lived in Paris from 1958 onward. Together with other young Portuguese artists in cultural exile there, including René Bértholo, António Costa Pinheiro, Gonçalo Duarte, José Escada and João Vieira, she founded the magazine KWY, which would feature contributions from figures such as Christo and Jan Voss. She was constantly creating other books and albums, and played freely with genres, formats, supports and techniques.

Her penchant for letters, poetry and typography is also apparent from the artist’s high relief and bas-reliefs, created through the assembly, collaging and painting of everyday and domestic objects in boxes. One fundamental practice in her work is to capture, project and then trace the outline of the shadow of objects, especially plants and her own friends. Painted onto canvas, embroidered on sheets or cut out of acrylic, these transposed silhouettes summon a presence within absence, like a twin figure, a reincarnation of the original.

“It’s the littlest thing that I can grasp of a person,” says the artist. Ghostly, floating and transparent, the figures kiss, smoke and sleep, while a Shadow Play depicts the artist performing mundane chores. In 1983 she and the artist Manuel Zimbro returned to Madeira, the island on which she had been born in 1930. Castro lives there to this day, in a house with a garden that she describes as her canvas.

Lígia Afonso
[Plano Nacional das Artes and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian]
Curator, teacher and researcher born in Lisbon in 1981
Text originally written for Google Arts & Culture apropos the exhibition “All I Want, Portuguese Women Artists from 1900 to 2020”, curated by Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand