Lourdes Castro

1930 | Funchal, Portugal

Portuguese painter.

After studying painting at the School of Fine Arts in Lisbon, in 1957 Lourdes Castro left Portugal for Munich. After receiving a grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, she created the experimental magazine KWY (1958-1963) with the painter René Bértholo in Paris, and supported the movement of the same name alongside Christo, Jan Voss and Portuguese artists such as Costa Pinheiro, José Escada, Gonçalo Duarte and João Vieira. She participated in the first Biennale de Paris in 1959. Soon after, she slowly abandoned lyrical abstraction and embraced a practice similar to the New Realists, creating collages of found mass-produced objects assembled in silver-painted boxes. Pierre Restany, the theorist behind the movement, cited her work in Le Plastique dans l’art (1973). She created her first silk-screen tests in 1962 and conceived books and collages. Capturing the evanescence of reality, which is by essence ephemeral and intangible, has been the subject of the artist’s life. The silhouettes of her friends painted on Plexiglass (Ombre projetée de Christa Maar, 1968), cut or embroidered on sheets (Ombres couches, 1972) explored the theme of the object and its double.

The artist became a part of a filiation that goes from anonymous shadow puppets made popular across Europe in the eighteenth century, to the figure of Peter Pan – whose celebrated adventures drove him to finding his abandoned shadow – and eventually the silhouette of Marcel Duchamp (Marcel dechiravit, 1958). She animated these shadow puppets in spectacles that she began creating in 1966, in collaboration with Manuel Zimbro, in her Shadow Theatre, which were presented throughout Europe and Brazil. Grand herbier d’ombres (1972), exhibited at the Fondation Cartier in Paris in 2009, was a kind of botanical encyclopaedia that symbolically bound two epochs as well as two familiar geographies: Paris and Funchal. She represented Portugal at the São Paulo Biennial in 2000 alongside Francisco Tropa.

Scarlett Reliquet

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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