12–16 October 2022
Victoria Miro is delighted to return to Frieze London. The gallery’s booth this year will feature a special presentation in tribute to Paula Rego, who died in June at the age of 87.
Additionally on view will be works by Milton Avery, Hernan Bas, María Berrío, Secundino Hernández, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Chantal Joffe, Doron Langberg, Wangechi Mutu, Chris Ofili, Celia Paul, Grayson Perry, Conrad Shawcross, Hedda Sterne and Flora Yukhnovich.
NS Harsha’s bronze sculpture Desired for – Arrived at, 2021, is on view as part of Frieze Sculpture (14 September–13 November 2022), curated by Clare Lilley.
‘The story progresses and changes as it goes along, it becomes something else over time, a story that I really want.’ — Paula Rego
The fruit of a lifetime in the studio, the works on view are among the last large-scale pastels completed by the artist. Free and exuberant, they blend autobiographical elements, folk tales and other stories, while drawing inspiration from the mannequins, dolls and masks that Rego staged in her London studio in order to create the characters and narratives that unfold in her work. For the artist a process of discovery was essential. As she said, ‘The story progresses and changes as it goes along, it becomes something else over time, a story that I really want.’
Sophie’s Misfortunes (Les Malheurs de Sophie), the 1858 children’s book by the Comtesse de Ségur, a story loved by Rego from childhood, provides a connecting thread. Among Sophie’s misdeeds and misfortunes in de Ségur’s story is the unintentional melting of her wax doll, and on view will be Sofia, 2017, a studio prop comprising two papier-mâché dolls, suspended from their heads, one with its features intact, the other with eye holes as dark sockets and blood trailing from its mouth. The dolls appear as the central motif in the large-scale pastel work Split, 2017, where the cause of this mistreatment appears to be a young boy standing beside them, brandishing a sword.
Other works, populated by characters of at times dubious motive and filled with by turns wicked and drolly humorous incident, illuminate the dynamics of power that occupied Rego throughout her career. Rego was a peerless storyteller, and her art stands as a fearless exploration of human relationships and the complexities of human experience. These late works exemplify the deep psychological insight and imaginative force that she brought to figurative art, sustained across narratives, through motifs and over decades.
About the artist
Dame Paula Rego RA was born in 1935 in Lisbon, Portugal. She died in London on 8 June 2022.
The largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Rego’s work to date commenced last year at Tate Britain (7 July–24 October 2021) travelling to Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands (27 November 2021–20 March 2022), and Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain (26 April–21 August 2022). Works by the artist are featured in the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani, on view until 27 November 2022. Paula Rego: There and Back Again, an exhibition centred around the artist’s 1990 masterpiece Crivelli’s Garden, opens this autumn at Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (30 October 2022–29 January 2023). Paula Rego: Crivelli’s Garden, an exhibition exploring the relationship between Rego’s monumental painting and the fifteenth-century altarpiece that inspired it, will be held in summer 2023 at the National Gallery in London, where Rego was the first Associate Artist in 1990–1992.
Other recent major solo exhibitions include Paula Rego: Subversive Stories, featuring prints from across her career, at Arnolfini, Bristol (5 February–29 May 2022); Paula Rego: Literary Inspirations at Petersfield Museum, Hampshire (23 March–9 July 2022); Museum De Reede, Antwerp, Belgium (2021); and Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance, curated by Catherine Lampert, which travelled from MK Gallery, Milton Keynes to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh in 2019–2020 and was on view at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin from September 2020–May 2021.
Rego’s work is in the collections of major museums including the British Museum, Tate, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, UK; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, USA; The Art Institute of Chicago, USA, and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA.