• 1936
  • Canvas
  • Oil
  • Inv. 78PE99

Maria Helena Vieira da Silva

Composition (Composição)

The original oeuvre of Vieira da Silva, universally characterised by advances and retreats, uncertainties and experimentation, is punctuated by remarkable moments of progress. Up until 1935, Vieira da Silva used the central perspective and constructed space around a single imaginary vanishing point in noteworthy paintings featuring closed spaces. From 1936 onwards, this perspective was gradually surpassed in the series entitled Compositions. The affirmation of the plane through purely visual elements, such as lines and contours, serves to enhance the architectural nature of the compositions. Structure and pictorial space are the driving forces behind her constructive tendencies. Themes diminish in importance and become visual diagrams. The paintings in this series do not have titles, nor are they intentional Compositions, and the grid acts as a method for compartmentalising space in the two-dimensional support of the canvas.


Composition is part of a set of works that may be defined as spatial skeletons which serve to highlight the structures that define the composition, where abstraction excludes any kind of figuration. Vieira da Silva devotes her attention to the framework of the visible, and the structures are stripped bare. She is interested in the essence; the spaces are inward-looking and closed off, just as the artist is isolated from the outside world and reality. The composition is ordered around a central axis, a stabilising element which is instantly dispelled by destabilising elements. The lines, extended by contours, criss-cross and become intertwined with one another from one plane to another, creating distortions and forming a grid which destroys any perspective suggested in earlier compositions. The idea of a labyrinth (long before this spatial configuration came to be used as a title for paintings) is implicit in the lost path of the tangle of lines. Density disappears, depth is destroyed, and the canvas reclaims its function as a container. The colour, stripped of any expressive value, accentuates the purpose of the lines, which create new planes from their intersections, highlighting the architecture of the piece and the absence of volume. Pure colour is used with a view to dynamism, rather than the palette becoming plainer and more saturated. Vieira da Silva deliberately uses colour for its intrinsic relationship with painting, enabling detachment from reality and reductive essentiality, which soon became imperative to overcome and transgress.



Marina Bairrão Ruivo

May 2010


Vieira da Silva - Catalogue Raisoné
Genève, Suiça, Edition D'Art Albert Skira S.A., 19-11-1993
Catálogo Raisonné
Arte Contemporáneo Portugués
Lisboa, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Centro de Arte Moderna, 1987
Catálogo de exposição
Inauguração do CAM
Curator: A definir
20 de Julho de 1983
Lisboa, Centro de Arte Moderna/ FCG
20 de Julho 1983.
Vieira da Silva - Arpad Szenes nas Colecções portuguesas
Casa de Serralves
Curator: A definir
Fevereiro de 1989 a Abril de 1989
Casa de Serralves, Porto
Exposição individual, no Porto, em 1989.
Vieira da Silva dans le collections portugaises
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts
Curator: A definir
1991-09-29 a 1991-12-08
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Bruxelas
Exposição individual, em Bruxelas, no ano de 1991.
sem título
Curator: A definir
Exposição colectiva.
a definir
Galeria do Leal Senado
Curator: Arqtº Sommer Ribeiro
9 Junho 1995 a 30 Julho 1995
Exposição realizada em Macau.Exposição sobre Vieira da Silva.
Arte Contemporáneo Portugués
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Curator: CAM/FCG
Fevereiro de 1987 a Março de 1987
Madrid, Museo Espanõl de Arte Contemporáneo
Exposição organizada pelo CAM e pelos ministérios dos "Asuntos Exteriores" e da Cultura de Espanha. A exposição apresentou obras da Colecção do Centro de Arte Moderna e de colecções particulares.
VIEIRA DA SILVA - Obras do Centro de Arte Moderna JAP e da Fundação AS-VS
Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian
Curator: Marina Bairrão Ruivo
13 de Junho de 2007 a 18 de Outubro de 2007
Centro Cultural Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris
25 de Outubro de 2007 a 16 de Março de 2008
Fundação Arpad-Szenes - Vieira da Silva
Organização conjunta do Centro Cultural C G em Paris e da Fundação Arpad-Szenes Vieira da Silva em Lisboa. Com a colaboração do Centro de Arte Moderna. Co-comissária da exposição - Ana Vasconcelos e Melo.
Updated on 23 january 2015

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