I am amazed at how the stuff that painters use to make paintings, which is quite of the material world, inert and lifeless, can achieve, through the act of painting, the illusion of belonging to a different plane of existence.

Hélio Luís (b. 1980, Portugal) is a self-taught artist from Lisbon, whose large format-paintings depict a space between reality and the imagination. Sourcing from literature, photography, and archival cinema, Luís confronts fraught and complex legacies such as the presence of colonialism and the “exotic” within European art and Art History, contextualizing them within the contemporary world. Luís’ gestural handling of paint ranges from the subdued to the boldly expressionistic, the technical application and materiality taking a foreground in his practice. Vibrant hues and discernible layers are juxtaposed with a refined, traditional figurativism— a collision of the past and present on the canvas.


Images: Hélio Luís' studio. Photo: Jorge Vaz Gomes. Hélio Luís in the studio. Photo: Jorge Vaz Gomes

Selected Works