Text by João Terras A finger, a bone. A ladder made of bone. The drawing of a finger. The paper-mâché embossed finger. And a finger formed by a wooden rod and a glove. Above all, it is the hand’s presence, the hand that shapes. Ana Rita António’s installations are mutable matter, part of the unstable, the unfinished, and the time to come.
The Holy Crafts, presently on display in Tag Team Studio, is a new exhibitionmoment that expands upon the objects and subjects started in the 2020 artistic residency in the Arts Centre of Caldas da Rainha, and as a follow up to the project An ambitious project collapsing aka «The 5th wheel», developed between Oaxaca and Mexico City, in 2019. The artist’s modus operandi is far from being stuck to quick-fixing or focused on trivial reuse or restoration. Instead, it is comprised of gestures of the gathering nature, by operating from the disconnected, the fractured, the remnants, and the margins. And because there is always a sense of incompleteness in each sculpted composition presented, here is also, in its disorder a sense of entrapment: of something built not necessarily to harm, hunt, deceive, or elude, but to weave time and objects into a snare and a suspension of what it is to come. Thus, the artist shall not be — in each paper-mâché, in each assemblage of forms and objects, drawing or illustration — far from the purest and vital meaning of the artist-archaeologist, the artist who brings light, who doubts the nature and veracity of objects and sees the irony in their possibilities and dialogues. And since the art object has a derive in the archaeological object, and both art and archaeological objects have a derive in the magical object, everything composed in the world is intended, is meant to achieve energetic charge from that enigmatic sense so latent in this work.
À la ville comme à la campagne, hier comme aujourd'hui, est toujours le même, le geste de glanage. (In the city as in the country, yesterday as in today, it’s always the same, the same gesture of gleaning.) Agnes Varda speaks about this in one of her most beautiful works, the film Les glaneurs et glaneuse (1999), to which we could also add: «the gesture of gleaning is always the same», as in to bend ourselves down, to discover, to quench something.
Since the beginning of time, the gleaners, the gatherers, the shamans, the priests, and even the sorcerers are beings involved in this same gesture, the one that makes them bend down to reach, the one that gathers and plants, that constructs to give access, that unites to energize.
Ana Rita António will, therefore, keep working within the gleaning gesture, which is the same as drawing, sewing, moulding, composing, and, finally, occupying the body.
(Translation: Margarida Ferreira)
Ana Rita Antonio (Leiria, 1980) Lives and works in Bergen since 2002. She holds a BFA in Painting from ESAD (PT, 2003), a MFA from Bergen Kunstakademiet(NO, 2006) and BFA from the Design Lab Dept. at the Rietveld Academy (NL, 2011). She integrated various artists-in- residency; most recently engaged in artistic research programs such as The Lab Program (Mexico City, 2019) and Pocoapoco (Oaxaca,2019). She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at venues such as: Mudam (LUX), Kunsthall Charlottenborg (DK), Kunstnernes Hus (NO), Chiado Museum (PT), among others. She is currently in collaboration with the artist Patria João Reis for the Havana Biennale (2022)