Julião Sarmento

Selected works


Julião Sarmento was born in 1948 in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in 2021. The artist explored the terrain of desire and representation in an approach combining painting, video and sound and visual installations. He exploited a huge variety of combinations to create a series of works with recurring motifs: an archetypal woman, modernist architectural images, plant-like lines, references to literature and the cinema. A large part of his work addressed issues of fragmentation, the gap between real and fictional, and latent eroticism.

SOLO SHOW - Abstracto, Branco, Tóxico e Volátil

Bringing together a significant set of works that marked his career, th selection presented here is the fruit of a close collaboration between the late artist and the curator Catherine David. A title of one of his 1997 works, "Abstracto, Branco, Tóxico e Volátil" is the first major exhibition of Julião Sarmento since his passing.

Julião Sarmento - Abstracto, Branco, Tóxico e Volátil
Coleção Berardo, Lisbon
From May 12, 2022 to January 1st, 2023

JULIAO SARMENTO (1948 - 2021)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Juliao Sarmento, yesterday May 4, in Lisbon.

Born in 1948, Juliao Sarmento was a major figure of Portuguese art from the 1970s onwards. He was among the first of his generation to achieve wide international recognition, exhibiting in numerous prestigious museums (including the Tate Modern in London, the Centro Contemporáneo de Malaga in Spain, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and the Fundaçao Serralves in Porto). Throughout his life, he carved a place for himself among the great thinkers and artists of contemporary art. His work explored the terrain of desire and representation in an approach combining painting, video, sound and visual installations. Exploiting a huge variety of combinations, Sarmento created an oeuvre with recurring motifs: the archetypal woman, modernist architectural images, plant-like lines, references to literature and the cinema. A large part of his work addresses issues of fragmentation, the gap between the real and fictional.
Fluent in French and a lover of French culture and cinema, Juliao Sarmento was widely admired in our country, where his work was the subject of many museum exhibitions, including Pompidou, MAMAC in Nice or most recently the Gulbenkian Foundation in Paris.

A passionate artist, Juliao Sarmento radiated with relentless curiosity and fierce energy. Profoundly humane and generous, he we will greatly missed.

Our thoughts are with his family.

Photo: pf.Elle.J 

Strip Club – solo show

For the new Janela edition, “Taffimai” invited artist Julião Sarmento to intervene with the neon installation Strip Club, which occupies most of the Janela’s area.

Strip Club ironically promises to transform the plant store Limbo Shop into a striptease club, inviting whoever passes by the Janela to come inside. As the store is closed by law, the artist’s invitation reveals itself as a provocation, the ultimate game of seduction. This edition of Janela is not just one more game we came to get used to in Julião Sarmento’s work, but it is mostly a reminder that we, in fact cannot come in, cannot enjoy, cannot participate in all of what Lisbon’s streets have to offer.

From February 26 to May 31, 2021

Janela “Taffimai”, Calçada Castelo Picao, 32, Lisboa



Japanese Traffic Yellow Tide - solo exhibition

Julião Sarmento presents his solo exhibition “Japanese Traffic Yellow Tide” at the Center for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu, Japan :

“Standing alone in the exact center of the room, the one defined by the crossing of both diagonals on the floor, I imagine a colour. Not just any colour but one which can transport me to unknown pleasures and places of delight. A colour connected to freedom and self-improvement. A colour I particularly fancy and often use in my work. A colour that sets my good mood in. A colour like the colour of New York City cabs. Traffic Yellow. RAL 1023.

I then imagine how many gallons of paint would it be necessary to fill up the room I’m standing in, up to the tip of my head, shy only of my scalp, with me inside, in the center, completely still. To fill up the room with paint up to 186 cm which is my height, shy only of the hairs on top of my head. Like an immense yellow tide. I imagine a room as a sink, with a hole in the bottom through which the paint disappears once the room is filled the way I imagined. And then the result. A yellow room completely covered in yellow paint up to a quota of 186 cm. A simple equation. A simpler gesture ? ”- Julião Sarmento

From February 15 to April 23, 2021

CCA Gallery, 2-5 Hibikino, Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu, Japan



The exhibition presents the work of several artists taking part of the Coleção de Serralves which explores the different potentialities of light. The artists represented in “Estudos de Luz” manage, whatever the variety of means, materials and processes, to put their research at the service of the visual representation of light.

From November 19, 2020 to January 17, 2021

Casa-Museu Teixeira Lopes, Vila Nova de Gaia, Rua D. João de Castro, 210, 4150-417 Porto Portugal



Framed in the cycle O Desenho como Pensamento do CAA - Centro de Artes de Águeda, the exhibition takes up the first line of a poem by Al Berto for its title and brings together works by artists who over the years have worked on drawing as an undisciplined register, sometimes transversal to their practices.The works on display show that the drawing is not very tangible, comparable to a thought, gaining body and acquiring sculptural, sound, atmospheric and spatial formulations.

From November 14, 2020 to April 21, 2021

CAA Centro de Artes de Águeda, Rua Joaquim Valente Almeida, nº 30, 3750-154 Águeda, Portugal


O PEQUENO MUNDO – Group show


O pequeno mundo is a group exhibition that brings together paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and photographs by 24 Portuguese artists, including many of the major figures from the Portuguese art scene. This exhibition evokes one of the most distinctive features of artistic practice: the possibility or vocation, to create peculiar, in-between or parallel worlds, that question the realities in which we live.

From November 1st, 2020 to February 21, 2021

Museum of Contemporary Art Nadir Afonso, Av. 5 de Outubro, 105400-017 Chaves, Portugal



The collection of the Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC), includes works by the most emblematic artists of Portuguese contemporary art. Since its inauguration in 1995, it has continued to enrich itself by incorporating new references, giving way to new means of artistic expression such as digital art.

From October 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021
Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, Calle Museo, s/n, 06003 Badajoz, Spain



This exhibition brings together a selection of works by artists who once directed a Fundación Botín visual arts workshop and exhibited their work in Santander, as well as some by former recipients of the foundation’s visual art grants. It explores the influence of architecture on art, and offers reflections on how architecture also shapes human lives and structures social interaction.

From October 10, 2020 to March 14, 2021

Fundación Botin, Muelle de Albareda s/n, Jardines de Pereda, 39004 Santander, Spain



The Invisible Show seeks to map these situations, based on the project with the same title presented by the curator Delfim Sardo in Spain and Israel, in 2007, only now in an enlarged version. Taking us back to modernist artists such as Raoul Hausmann, Luigi Russolo, Marinetti or Kurt Schwitters, the exhibition includes works by António Dias, James Lee Byars, Bruce Nauman, Luisa Cunha, Joan Jonas, Gonçalo Barreiros, Michael Snow, Julião Sarmento, Juan Muñoz and Gavin Bryars, Ricardo Jacinto, among many others.

From September 26, 2020 to January 10, 2021

Edifício-sede da, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Rua Arco do Cego, 50 , 1000–300 Lisbon, Portugal



RED LIGHT presents a selection of works from the Norlinda and José Lima art collection, having in common the approach to sexuality, declined in multiple themes, both presented in a complement of counterpoint and in a discordant confrontation : the representation of the body, male and female nudity, eroticism, fantasy, desire and pain, object and subject, pleasure and domination, places of female representation, male gaze, voyeurism, exhibitionism and self-representation in art.

From September 26, 2020 to March 14 , 2021

Centro de Arte Oliva, Rua da Fundição, 240, 3700-119 S. João da Madeira, Portugal



Initiated in 2010, ProjectoMAP, “MAP” as an acronym for Map of Artists of Portugal, is a curatorial, research and mapping project for the universe of contemporary art in Portugal. Each artist is invited to suggest two names of central artists in their artistic and / or personal universe, and it is from this direct nomination that the map develops exponentially.


From September 24, 2020 to January 10, 2021

Museu Coleção Berardo, Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa, Portugal



The exhibition Feast. Fury. Femina – Works from the FLAD Collection marks the Luso-American Development Foundation´s 35th anniversary. It is the largest exhibition ever organized using the Foundation´s collection. It is comprised of 228 pieces by over 60 Portuguese artists, it evokes the performative dimension inherent to contemporary artistic practices and highlights the feminine dimension, demanding a renewed gaze on the History of Art.

From September 23, 2020 to January 25, 2021

maat — Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Av. Brasília, Belém, 1300-598 Lisboa, Portugal


The closing line also opens – Group show

In an group exhibition dedicated to Florentine Renaissance drawing and its Iberian extensions, Julião Sarmento’s work will be presented at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (MNAA) in Lisboa.Sarmento’s drawings impact on the balance of temporality,  as well as on thematic and stylistic sequences that we might establish between artists belonging to a common cultural background. He has developed a long theory on linear images, as well as on interrupted or suspended actions. Julião Sarmento’s works are not studies, they are finished works. By reversing the Renaissance rules, they present the non finito as finito.

From May 18 to July 26

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Rua das Janelas Verdes 1249-017 Lisboa


Expanded - Group show

Julião Sarmento is participating in Expanded, the new exhibition of First Stone, an experimental international research programme that explores the potential of Portuguese Stone. Expanded features original works by Marina Abramović, Carsten Holler et Julião Sarmento.

Produced in Portuguese stone, a million-year-old natural resource, they share this unifying element that bestows them with a deep timelessness and resilience, somewhat contradicting the chaos and superficiality of the contemporary world. Placed within the gardens of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, immersed in nature and displayed together, these pieces provide visitors with moments of experimentation and confrontation, underlining the value of art and culture in public spaces.

From 9/05/2019 to 24/11/2019


« The Raft. Art is (not) Lonely » - group show

« The Raft. Art is (not) Lonely » will bring together 73 international artists in Oostende chosen by curators Jan Fabre and Joanna De Vos and will present 52 new creations of young and experienced artists.
The exhibition discusses the artist's quest and the duality of the creation, based on isolation and engagement.
Artists from different generations and different paths were invited to question the link between « Le radeau de la méduse » (1818) of Théodore Géricault and Jan Fabre's work « Le Radeau est (pas) solitaire (1986) ».

The curators have the intention to stimulate the city in order to make it (re)discovered. Besides the well-known museum, they looked for more unsual places like the Peperbusse restaurant, le 
Palais de Justice, the Eurpacentrum building, the stables of the Wellington track race or the crypts of the Sint-Jozef church.

« The Raft. Art is (not) Lonely » will be an artistic journey disseminated in 22 places of the « City by the sea » .

From 21/10/17 to 15/04/18


Conversation Piece - group show

The Galleria Nazionale invites ”la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art to establish a “conversation”, presenting a select group of works under the roof of its classical architecture. This exhibition brings together a dozen works by artists with different poetic voices. The interaction between the works follows a pattern, that established by the basso continuo of the minimalist aesthetic and by the triple relation between architecture, sculpture and the human figure.

Artists : Fernanda Fragateiro, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Juan Muñoz, Joan, Hernández Pijuan, Doris Salcedo, Julião Sarmento, Thomas Schütte, Richard Serra, Jana Sterbak, Antoni Tàpies, Ignacio Uriarte, Rachel Whiteread 

From 18/05/17 to 17/09/17


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