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As Óperas e a colecção Casa das Histórias/

May 17th to October 13th 2013
Óperas e ColecçãoPaula Rego, Aida, 1983

"I'm just trying to say lots of things in a simpler form. But doing so is the most complex thing in the world." Paula Rego

The new exhibition in the Paula Rego Casa das Histórias is presenting, in the temporary exhibitions hall, a fundamental nucleus of fourteen works (including the study sketches), from the series The Operas, which Paula Rego made in 1983. With the exception of the temporary exhibition hall, the seven exhibition rooms are occupied by works from the collection of the Casa das Histórias  many of which have never previously been displayed - and which are directly or indirectly related to the universe of the opera, invoking tragi-comic relationships and dynamics between human, animalesque figures and humanised animals.

This ambiguous and complex universe of interaction between humans, animals, vegetables and hybrids begins to be constructed by Rego at the beginning of the nineteen eighties. These are creatures with human qualities and behaviour patterns, which are thrust by Rego into peculiar situations, vivid dramas that loudly invade her painting, making incarnate a whole inventory of subjects and characters that are presumably identifiable. Rego received the original idea from her husband, the renowned British artist Victor Willing (1928-1988), who, when he was a child, had a little theatre with a red monkey, a dog with only one ear and a bear.

The Operas established new principles of action into Paula Rego's visual language, which multiply the characters and repeat formal elements, explored in an unmistakeable thematic unity and style. This new form of visually communicating her stories and "imagiconography" will gain second wind in the paintings made during the years 1984 and 1985, and, in particular, in her series Vivian Girls and In and Out of the Sea, which recuperate and intensify the colour as a structuring element of the composition, increase the scale of the characters and grant the painting with a strength and gestural nature that had previously not been achieved.