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Ana Mendes

June 30 to July 8

Ana Mendes, Alone, ink, paper, rubber stamps, 210 x 148 mm, (c) Ana Mendes, 2020

June 23 to June 30

‘Artist pair-up skill’ was my lockdown project. It is is part of the initiative ‘Project School’, which explores the connection between identity, talent and skill – to what extent talent is an inherent part of our identity, if it can be acquired/taught and what is the role that informal sharing networks play in the education system. In the frame of ‘Project School’, I created ‘Artist pair-up skill’, an initiative in which one artist (giver) is paid to teach a skill to another artist (receiver). The goal is to help artists financially, to strengthen the bond between artists and to facilitate the acquisition of skills by artists in a critical time. For me, this project was a form of dealing with the difficulties that I witness around (and within) me, transforming something negative in, eventually, something positive. More bits at the blog Project School.

June 16 to June 23

POLYPHONIC MANIFSTO

Ana Mendes, Race, 210 x 148, ink on paper, 2020

June 2 to June 9

May 26 to June 2

May 19 to May 26

The hair is a video filmed with 2013, with Lisa Lemaine part of the series ‘This is my god’, in which I invited different people to visit me in my studio and bring and object that meant god for them in abstract terms. Using that object, I created a series of videos and photographs. In the case of Lisa Lemaine, Latvia, chose the hair, as it reminded her mother. Looking back, from a lockdown time, it is interesting to notice how the same basic elements – bread, money, love, hair, and similar always stay with us.

May 12 to May 19

‘The bread’ is a video in which I filmed myself baking a bread, in order to speak on god in abstract terms. The work was created in 2012, in Germany, whilst attending a residency subordinated to the idea of god in the 21st century. Thus, I filmed this work to use an abstract approach to the idea of god, because the bread as strong symbolism in catholicism. Besides, the dough is like any other artistic or thinking process, in which you get involved, fight, think, step back, return and accept. Moreover, in Germany many rituals involve the bread, which can also be seen as a form of cultural freedom in a very structured society – the German bread, the Turkish, the Syrian, the French, etc.

To my great surprise, when I exhibited the video in Germany, several women approached me to speak about their love/domestic interpretations of the video. I always thought of Germany as a very rightful country, where women could afford some independence. So, these silent shares of violence, even if emotional hit me hard.

Seven years later, during the lockdown, I keep seeing online posts about baking, the lack of flour and yeast, in parallel invisible stories of violence. Thus, it made me think on how rituals can be forms of liberation/canalisation of violence.

May 5 to May 12

Spending the lockdown in Sweden, allowed me to enjoy a certain level of freedom that most of my friends in Europe could not get. Nevertheless, in the Covid 19 times that privilege is only an illusion as you are too conscious of what is happening, and impose borders onto yourself even if the others do not do so. That is how fear works.

One of the first things that I did, in Sweden, and even before the lockdown was to shop second-hand, as I always do. In my local second-hand store, Stadt Mission, I found this pearl. An American brand that labels Hong-kong, the British Crown Colony. Not sure if the British would say this, even back in the day, and do not believe that the brand was being ironic. Yet, it did make me think even more on how colonialism, capitalism, industrial revolution, and ‘the likes’, were the route to where we are now, and that we cannot go back to where we were before the crisis. But, we know… we will. Just because capitalism was never a soft machine.

April 28 to May 5

From_To_No_No_Rush

After the initial shock of the escalation of Covid 19, the first thing that I felt like doing was to get back to my experiments with concrete poetry. I think that creating images out of words helps me to think a way out, or to combine the two things that I like the most: concept/language and visuals.

Ana Mendes is a Portuguese visual artist and writer, working and living in London and Stockholm. She works in video, installation, performance, text, film and photography to explore questions of language, memory and identity. Recent solo shows include Konstepidemin, Gothenbourg, 2020; Yongsan Family Park, Seoul, 2019, and Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria, 2017. Group shows include Korean Gallery, NY, USA, 2020; Universal Museum Joanneum, Graz, Austria, 2019 and Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland, 2018. Recent prizes include the Jerwood Drawing Prize, 2017, second prize winner, Jerwood Space, London, UK; More details at: www.anamendes.com

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