Celebrating the life and work of Lourdes Castro, who passed away on 8 January this year, Collection Caixa Geral de Depósitos chose to highlight Untitled, 1965. A unique artist in the Portuguese art scene of the second half of the 20 th century, Lourdes Castro attended Escola Superior de Belas-Artes de Lisboa until 1956. She left for Munich in the following year and moved to Paris shortly afterwards with artist René Bertholo, her first husband. She launched the magazine KWY (1958-1964) with René Bertholo, Costa Pinheiro, João
Vieira, José Escada, Gonçalo Duarte, Jan Voss and Christo.

In the 1960s, her work was focused in assemblages of everyday objects painted either in silver, gold or blue, which she kept in small boxes also coated with a uniform layer of paint in those same colours. Caixa aluminio (lagostins) [Aluminium box (crawfish)] and Caixa alumínio (óculos) [Aluminium box (spectacles)], 1962, two works that belong to Collection Caixa Geral de Depósitos, are good examples of this phase of the artist’s work. A few years later, she became fascinated by the vibrant colours and transparencies of plexiglas, a material that allows for shapes to fade enhancing the cut-outs. Untitled, 1965, Collection Caixa Geral de Depósitos, is a work painted on plexiglas that reveals the artist’s taste for vibrant silver and shows the drawing of a cat – deconstructed and identified only by its inebriating green eyes. The uniform colour takes away from sculptural forms and leads her to challenge the shadows, which became the main source of inspiration of her work.

Lourdes Castro was artist-in-residence at the prestigious DAAD in Berlin in 1972 and in 1979. With her second husband, artist Manuel Zimbro, she carried out several partnerships, such as, performances, scenography and staging, a series of works that reached a highpoint with Teatro de Sombras [Theatre of Shadows] in 1985.

Back to Funchal in 1983 after living in Paris for 25 years, she pursued her in-depth investigation of shadows, charmed by the exuberance of the island's vegetation and flowers. The tapestry Sombras brancas [White shadows] I, II e III, 1986, and its cards, which belong to Collection Caixa Geral de Depósitos, tell of this bond with nature and the influence of the island flora. The shadows of the plants occupy the entire drawing, thus unveiling a never ending pattern, an idyllic and utopian space.

Throughout her life she received awards and accolades that testify to the quality of her work. The EDP Foundation Art Grand Prize (2000), the CELPA/Vieira da Silva Prize (2004), the AICA Award (2010), the Medal of Cultural Merit (2020) and the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada (2021) are but a few among these honours.

The artist’s works that belong to Collection Caixa Geral de Depósitos, were recently shown in group exhibitions: “O pequeno mundo” curated by Sérgio Mah at MACNA – Museu de Arte Contemporânea Nadir Afonso, Chaves, and at Culturgest, Lisbon; and “Cangiante”, curated by Antonia Gaeta, at CAAB – Center for Archeology and Arts of Beja.

Hugo Dinis

Lourdes Castro
Acrylic on silver foil on the back of plexiglas
60 x 81 cm
Inv. 347255
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