Reinventing the body on the photographic stage

Theatricality, identity, and figural writing in the work of Helena Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-94
Number of pages24
JournalPhilosophy of Photography
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Fingerprint

Theatricality
Photography
Artist
Discursive
Jacques Derrida
Gilles Deleuze
Ink
Designation
Canvas
Physical
Multimedia
Visual Media
Fiction
Structuralist
Transgression
Disciplinary Boundaries
Metamorphoses
Hybridization
Photographic Images
Dissimulation

Keywords

  • helena almeida
  • Body
  • Photography
  • space
  • theatricality
  • Writing

Cite this

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title = "Reinventing the body on the photographic stage: Theatricality, identity, and figural writing in the work of Helena Almeida",
abstract = "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.",
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