Reinventing the body on the photographic stage: Theatricality, identity, and figural writing in the work of Helena Almeida

Philosophy of Photography 9 (1):71-94 (2018)

Miguel Mesquita Duarte
Universidade Nova de Lisboa (PhD)
The fictional regime of the photographic image allows Helena Almeida to stage a theatrical metamorphosis of her own body through displacements, expansions and dissimulations, placing photography at the heart of a pictorial transgression that undermines the disciplinary boundaries of visual media: the artist becomes ink, inhabits the empty canvas space, multiplies herself in mirror games that produce the unfolding of a body in deep crisis, thrown beyond its physical limits and identity. Moreover, in multimedia works such as Feel me, Hear me and See me (1979–1980), as well as in some images of the series entitled The House (1982–1983), Almeida seems to move towards a radical linguistic and pictorial derangement, likely to break the traditional communicative and representative mechanisms. We seek to demonstrate, on the basis of these different aspects relating to photography’s effects of hybridization, and making use of the post-structuralist thought of Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, that the artist moves towards the designation of a structural space that combines photography, writing and the reinvention of the body. Almeida’s work confronts us with a complex reconfiguration of ways of seeing, feeling and thinking the photographic act, as well as its discursive features.
Keywords Helena Almeida  photography  body  image and writing
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DOI 10.1386/pop.9.1.71_1
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