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The Proles Wall Years/

The Proles Wall Years

10 February - 30 June 2011
Opening hour: 18h30

ProlesPaula Rego, Proles Wall, 1984 (detail) - Collection CAM - Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian - Phot. Paulo Costa

In 1984, Paula Rego was invited to take part in the collective exhibition Nineteen Eighty-Four organised by the Camden Arts Centre to mark the publication in 1948 of George Orwell's powerful utopian critique of a society in the near future. The artist created a large painting that she called Proles Wall, introducing into the narrative the term used by the writer to refer to the proletariat and in particular the complex web of tensions and power relations in an authoritarian and self-vigilant society, here looked at from a personal and transforming perspective that the constraints of the drawing impose.

Proles Wall brings one phase of Paula Rego's work to an end and begins another. It is the culmination of the Operas series, large-scale works based on the librettos from the early eighties, a work of unmatched breadth that fuses the sense of the literary work on which it is based with a careful and critical examination of contemporary society. And it initiaties new work, such as the Dentro e Fora do Mar and Vivian Girls series, densely-peopled narratives with truncated plots in which intense and direct colour is used as a constituent element in the drawing and the composition.

This exhibition, the third such temporary exhibition dedicated to Paula Rego, is based on the establishment of a dialogue between the central work Proles Wall, a set of 10 panels belonging to the collection of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian's Modern Art Centre, and pieces from the Casa das Histórias.