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Julie Mehretu, Stelae 3 (Bardu), 2016. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 304,8 x 365,8 cm.  Private Collection


Occupying the central gallery and rooms of the left wing of the Museum, this important exhibition presents 20 years of paintings and drawings by Julie Mehretu (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1970) – from 1996 to the present day. Mehretu is one of the most important artists working today. This will be her first exhibition in Portugal. Her paintings have redefined the way we think of painting as an instrument for mapping the world in time and space. Although Mehretu is known primarily for her monumental paintings that combine architectural plans and city maps – as part of research into the themes of globalization and identity – her work is based on a simultaneously rigorous and explosive exploration of drawing. Mehretu evokes several references, ranging from surrealistic drawings to Chinese calligraphy, also including the pictorial experiences of Henri Michaux produced under the influence of mescaline. Eliminations and deletions are as important as the marks produced by the artist, thus giving rise to a palimpsest of spaces built on the basis of visual and cultural memories.
Mehretu has participated in countless international and biennial exhibitions that have won her international recognition, including, the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2005, and the prestigious MacArthur Fellows Award. In 2009 and 2010, Mehretu exhibited a series of large-scale paintings in the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, which then travelled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Her monumental panel of paintings, Mogamma, which is part of an ongoing meditation on sites of revolution and social change, was commissioned for Documenta 13 in 2013.
The exhibition is organized by Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, and Fundación Botín. The exhibition at Serralves Museu de Arte Contemporânea is curated by Suzanne Cotter and the exhibition at Fundación Botín is curated by Vicente Todoli.
Fundação de Serralves
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150-417 Porto  |  Portugal

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