The 2020 Award goes to one of Europe’s most influential contemporary figurative artists. She is celebrated for her ambiguous complex compositions in paintings, drawings, and collages, as well as prints.
Throughout her career, printmaking has been a space for exploration, and a fundamental part of her artistic oeuvre. Through her technical prowess, the artist has been in dialogue with the particularities of different printing techniques, matching and expanding upon them to interlock with her unique form of expression.
Paula Rego (b. 1935 in Lisbon, Portugal) explores complex subject matters; psychologically charged depictions of human dramas and narratives. She depicts dysfunctional family relations, political systems, and social structures. Female perspectives are often at the forefront both thematically and compositionally. Novels, poems, nursery rhymes and fairy tales are reinterpreted in her prints, underlined by unconventional compositional devices. Extraordinary lithographs, intaglio- and screen prints are often produced in series. Their themes are many-faceted and detailed, open to the viewers’ interpretations. Paula Rego plays with both the expected and unexpected; disregarding scale and linear time, while at the same time juxtaposing important and less important pictorial elements. Rego's prints may be seen in light of Francisco Goya and William Hogarth, where prints are used as political and social commentary. In their execution and exuberance they are highly original and modern.