Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The big retrospective of Paula Rego is one you should try and see. It is at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, in Madrid from 26 Sept to 30 December 2007.
The link for museum is www.museoreinasofia.es
We went along twice because first time, we were en route to Toledo, and the museum is near the Atocha RENFE station. Then coming back after Toledo, we had time to spend much more time.
Once again, the work that Paula Rego has produced in impressive because, first it is creative and challenging, and secondly she works on a large size, with a difficult medium, pastel. Sheer physical effort is needed in quantity to do these pictures.
From reproductions, you do not realise that these are pastel. Reproductions do not do them justice, because the medium has a texture and sensual quality, a lustre and sheen, that makes you want to touch it. Of course they are all under glass.
The subjects are very often distorted, heads larger than life, grotesque grimaces on faces, animals in odd juxtapositions to humans.
She has recurring objects, such as an orange high heel shoe, she uses the same models and the same faces crop up over and over again, aging the while. Jane Eyre for instance, is a woman not in the first flush of youth!
There is a huge triptych "Marriage a la Mode", interesting to me because I like Hogarth, and have done my own version of some of the Rake's Progress, as etchings.
These are in pastel and are again disturbing, without the title you would not recognise the relevance to Hogarth.
The most frightening things are drawings in ink and watercolour called Misericordia, of old peoples homes, showing them, among other things, being hit, or wiped after the toilet. Really I found these drawings hard to look at. Also Rego has done drawings of faces with different emotions, showing Repugnance, Disgust, Scorn and Embarrasment.

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