Paula Rego, The Forgotten

Paula Rego, The Forgotten


The Forgotten is a presentation of forty works by Paula Rego in her first exhibition at Victoria Miro, London, which took place shortly before her death in June 2022. The Forgotten encircles themes and subjects that are often masked or concealed — out of politeness or embarrassment — such as mental illness and old age.

When Rego endured a particularly bad episode of depression, she decided to ‘draw her way out of it’. She created a series of works that she subsequently locked away from embarrassment and shame. We placed them at the front of the book before a title or any words appeared as a way to cast away the shame.

Rego’s love of literature grew into an interest in storytelling, shaping her work. She was very close to her father, who, like her, suffered from depression. He would often read Dante’s Inferno to the artist, which she loved. The design and layout reference that book directly. The typeface’s sharp points and unusual contortions bring a gothic character to the design while remaining flamboyant and spiky. The paper we chose evokes fragility. It has a textured, slightly hairy quality, which speaks to the nature of the subject and brings an unruly texture, like the quality of her lines.

Publisher: Victoria Miro
Contributors: Deborah Levy; Paula Rego in conversation with María Berrío, Cecily Brown, Marlene Dumas, Tracey Emin, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Chantal Joffe, Wangechi Mutu, Celia Paul, Adriana Varejão and Flora Yukhnovich
Studio photography: Gautier Deblonde