Power relations, sexuality, and mythology are common threads running through the work of Paula Rego (b. 1935). Her figurative paintings explore both her personal struggles, including years of depression, and social problems like the inferior status of women. Rego grew up in Portugal, “a terrible country for women”, according to her father, who moved to Britain for his work, leaving her with her grandmother. Rego went to study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, and eventually made the city her home after many years of moving back and forth. It was in London that Rego evolved into one of the biggest stars of contemporary painting, but her work is now increasingly appreciated outside the UK, too. In collaboration with Tate Britain, Kunstmuseum Den Haag is to host the biggest retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, featuring more than seventy collages, paintings, etchings and drawings, ranging from her early work in the 1960s, her huge pastel drawings like Angel, and the impressive Abortion series, to her multi-layered ‘staged scenes’ of the 2000s.
This is how the publicity department of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (Kunstmuseum) describes the current exhibition by Paula Rego. Last week, me and Linda visited the exhibition together with the other exhibitions at the museum. The Rego exhibition was on my shortlist, since i had encountered her graphic works some years ago when i bought a very nice book on Rego ( currently a second copy available at www.ftn-books.com). There are some 70 works within the exhibition. Presented chronologically the first 2 rooms really blew me away. Works so complex and so poignant that i cannot remember during the last 10 years to have seen such 2 impressive rooms filled with great art. Than there are 2 rooms filled with paintings by Rego which i found less impressive and than, perhaps the ones she has become famous for ,about 40 works executed in pastel. Many of those on large formats. These are the ones that tell a story. Each work his own story, but all equal impressive.
The exhibition is at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag ( KUNSTMUSEUM) until the 20th of March 2022.
Paula Rego publication available at www.ftn-books.com