• Posing for Sue
  • Posing for Sue
  • Posing for Sue

  • 30 June - 22 July 2023
  • The sunday Painter
  • 117-119 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1XA | UK
  • Opening: Thursday 29 April 6.30-9.00 PM
  • Schedules: Wednesday – Saturday 12.00 – 18.00
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • +44 7811 138 350

The Sunday Painter is pleased to present the first painting show of Portuguese artist Rui Miguel Leitão Ferreira (b.1977) in the UK. Opening June 29th and curated by Daniel Malarkey, the exhibition sees Ferreira further develop his self-portrait series Posing for Sue. An essay by Bella Kesoyan will accompany the show.

The works on show explore Ferreira's relationship with close friend and mentor Sue Tilley – widely known for her long-standing professional relationship with Lucian Freud – whilst subtly manipulating and subverting the complex dialogue between the three subjects traditionally involved in portraiture: the portrayed, the artist and the observer. The artist first met Tilley at a charity event in 2013. An in-depth exploration into the experiences of life models within the realm of fine art had recently prompted Ferreira to begin modelling himself, a disquieting endeavour that left the artist feeling increasingly vulnerable and directionless when it came to his own practice. Ferreira found solace in Tilley’s gaze, eventually leading the two to forge a close friendship. Inspired by the powerful artist-model dynamic between Freud and Tilley – whose iconic four-year professional relationship saw Freud produce perhaps some of his most acclaimed and psychologically charged nude portraits – Ferreira sought to capture the intimacy of time spent between artist and sitter through the specificity of paint.

Rather than simply mirroring the pair’s relationship, however, the Posing for Sue series attempts to subvert art history’s long established traditions of portraiture – one of the oldest enduring art forms – by reconsidering the roles of all those involved. Ferreira begins his artistic process by filming a video piece in which he undresses in front of Tilley, with each recording capturing the collaborators reacting and responding to each other’s physical presence. Ferreira then paints from carefully chosen film stills, allowing him to analyse the process in motion rather than focusing on one particular viewpoint. By undressing in front of Tilley and remaining completely exposed throughout each filmed session, the source of the gaze, usually strictly maintained by the artist, is intentionally displaced to the model.

Posing for Sue explores the notion of shared experience between artist and sitter, tapping into the deep-rooted human desire to capture the complexities of expression via mimetic representation. Through the act of being observed in his most vulnerable state – both by the model and by the viewer – Ferreira utilises his body as an instrument to explore the heights and depths of the human psyche.

Rui Miguel Leitão Ferreira (b.1977, Lisbon, Portugal, lives and works in Lisbon.) Selected solo exhibitions include: Outdoors – Paintings for a Post-Pandemic World, Mind Set Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan (2023); New Paintings from the Lake, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria (2023); Nem Vale Nem Montanha, Galeria 111, Lisbon, Portugal (2020). Group exhibitions include: In the Kingdom of Clouds: Artists and the Invention of Sintra, Sintra Museum of the Arts, Sintra, Portugal (2020); Fuck The Digital, Low Gallery, London, UK (2020); Minimal Gestures, Museu Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal (2019); AIR-Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna, Austria (2019). Ferreira’s works are in numerous public collections including: Yuan Art Collection, Switzerland; PLMJ, Portugal; AIP - Associação Industrial Portuguesa, Portugal; Fidelidade Seguros, Portugal; Re - Mútua del Carme - Granollers, Spain; CAMB - Oeiras, Portugal; Colección Navacerrada, Spain.