If we were to use only one word to characterize the work of Portuguese artist Ana Manso, it would most likely be the word process. Her interest in issues of temporality and spatiality, which form the core of her practice, allow the artist to overcome and question the conventional nature and borders offered by the medium, while somehow always in keeping within its boundaries; for Manso all originates and is always directed towards painting.

Manso understand painting as a series of isolated time units – secluded plates layered, one up on another. Although the formal quality of her work points towards the abstract, her method of layering, suggests to a level of conceptual narration, based up on the accumulation of a series of isolated temporal blocks, which are united through the timeline formed as part of her painting process, as well as applied installation strategies.

While placing painting into the context of installation (usually the result of a lacking third dimension), can be perceived as something that has already been explored, within the setting of Ana Manso’s practice, installation and the inclusion of the three dimensional, rather than to the politics of spatiality, returns us once again back to painting. Objects for Manso are interventions between blocks of temporality, between an individual and a series of paintings. The politics of spatiality is always explored and dealt with strictly on canvas, surface of a wall or paper, and until the present has been achieved namely by the layering of fragments of abstracted moments in time. Manso`s recent exploration of the subject of the wave, than marks a transition from issues of fragmentation, to questions of the finite and infinite.

The power of Ana Manso’s practice is imbedded in her exploration of the commonly shared, her faithfulness to the medium, borders of which, allow her to explore and discover its further means, and manifest a broader relevance of painting within contemporary art practice.

Markéta Stará

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