One of the most important artists of his generation, Sarmento has exhibited extensively since the 1970s. Julião Sarmento draws upon themes of memory, sexuality, transgression, morality, and duality. He works across different mediums (painting, collage, drawing, sculpture, performance, and film) to deploy a concise vocabulary of images.
Julião Sarmento (b.1948 in Lisbon) lives and works in Estoril, Portugal. He studied Painting and Architecture at Escola Superior de Belas Artes in Lisbon where he received his MA in 1974. The richness and complexity of Sarmento’s work lies in its system of free-floating signifiers which migrate between works and across the boundaries of medium. The use or recurring motifs such as hand gestures, parts of bodies and architectural floor plans generate a free-play of unsettling associations that refuse to settle into meaning. Significant solo exhibitions include: The Real Thing / La Chose, Même, curated by Ami Barak, Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris (2016), Doppelgänger, Laboratório Curadoria #2, Colégio das Artes da Universidade de Coimbra (2015), Guest or Host?, CAAM Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (2015), Easy Pairings Fractals Stars, Galerie Daniel Templon, Brussels (20015), Julião Sarmento, MAMAC Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (curated by Gilbert Perlein), Nice (2014); Lo Sguardo Selettivo, GAM Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna (curated by Danilo Eccher and Riccardo Passoni), Torino (2014); Guest or Host?, Fundación Luis Seoane, A Coruña (2014); MACE Museu de Arte Contemporânes, Elvas (2013); 75 photographs, 35 women, 42 years, Pilar Corrias, London (2013); MACG, Museo de Arte Carrilo Gil, Mexico (2013); White Nights, A Retrospective, Museu Serralves, Porto (2012); CAC Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2012); Julião Sarmento 2000-2011, Es Baluard: Museu d’Art Modern I Contemporani de Palma (2011). Group exhibitions include: PER/FORM. HOW TO DO THINGS WITH[OUT] WORDS, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M) (curated by Chantal Pontbriand), Madrid (2014); Super 8, Yerba Buena centre for the Arts, San Francisco (2012); No Place Like – 4 Houses 4 Films, La Biennale di Venezia 12. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura, Portuguese Pavillion (2010); Outside the Box: Edition Jacob Samuel, 1988-2009, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010); Anos 70 Atravessar Fronteiras, Centro de Arte Moderna, Lisboa (2009).