As one of Portugal’s most important and well-known artists, Julião Sarmento has been exhibiting widely across the globe since his first show in 1969. Having worked in a variety of media, ranging from painting and sculpture to video and film, Sarmento’s practice eludes typical categorization. He is best recognized, however, for his richly textured and heavily layered paintings. Featuring collaged images and fragments of text that have been removed from their original contexts, the paintings invite a multitude of interpretations. The artist will often perform multiple sketches in graphite on the painted canvas, drawing over previous erasures to create forms that are both vague and evocative. While past works have focused specifically on the female body, his most recent pieces use silhouettes to suggest more ambiguous human figures.
Sarmento was included in two Documenta exhibitions, in 1982 and 1987 and participated in the Venice Biennale in 1980 and 2001. His work has been exhibited at numerous institutions worldwide, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the Tate Modern, and the Guggenheim Museum.