In the series of conversations that the philosopher Gilles Deleuze had with Claire Parnet entitled From A To Z, he reflects upon the letters of the alphabet and presents ‘Z’ as a line that zigzags with neither beginning nor end. Despite the reading of this text not having been the starting point for Z, the second solo exhibition by Ana Manso at the Pedro Cera Gallery, the crossing of this reading with her studio practice became a determining factor in the body of work that followed.
The exhibition is divided into three moments that are interlinked and hold a dialogue among them both in conceptual and visual terms, corresponding to a set of three large sized canvases, six small ones and a series of paintings on paper. Despite being produced according to different yet parallel logics — located between the containment of the swift gesture and the slow performance of the body — they are set out on the exhibition walls as if they were pages taken from the same book, thought up by the same hand. They are paintings to read (and here we are considering the paper works as paintings and not drawings) according to an invented alphabet of forms, lines and colours in a conquest of territory and in games that escape formality.
It is not enough to place Manso’s work within the field of abstraction. They are abstract paintings, but they are essentially thoughts and essays on movement which are presented with an apparent simplicity and spontaneity, a limited, sombre and somewhat melancholy palette of colours, rejecting sketches or previous ideas.
These works, built over successive layers of oil that seem to be mixed with watercolour, and with time, are a search for an event that in most cases ends up taking place out of the frame of the canvas, out of the spectator’s field of sight. And in this manner they are always fragments, instants from a search that never ends, which is linked between the works in movement, continuous like that of the ‘Z’.
Ana Manso was born in 1984 in Lisbon, where she lives and works. She graduated in Plastic Arts – Painting, at the Lisbon University Faculty of Fine Arts (2007), and of special note in her career are her participations in the exhibitions, “Sob Fogo / Under Fire”, Galeria Baginski, in Lisbon (2012); “EDP New Artists 2011”, at the EDP Foundation, in Lisbon; “Conversation Piece”, Espírito Santo Convent Art Gallery, Loulé (2011); “Fidelidade Mundial 2011 Young Painters Prize”, Chiado 8 – Contemporary Art, Lisbon;“Universal”, Galeria Marz, Lisbon (2011); “O sol morre cedo”, White Pavilion of the City Museum, Lisbon; “Democracia entre Tiranos”, Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon; “Kubla Khan”, ArteContempo Estados Gerais Cycle, Lisbon (2009) and “A River Ain’t Too Much to Love”, Spike Island, Bristol (2008).