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Ana Cardoso. Leaky Abstraction
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Curator: João Pinharanda
Ana Cardoso
Ana Cardoso

Leaky Abstraction, an exhibition by Ana Cardoso – finalist of EDP Foundation New Artists Award 2017 – is based on her research around the medium of painting. Exploring optical illusions allowed by the geometry of forms and a gestural and material based painting, Cardoso combines and simultaneously sabotages historical solutions of hard-edge and abstract painting with craft based practices: mixing or connecting dyed and hand-woven unpainted canvases with hand-painted industrial canvases, for instance.


The title – Leaky Abstraction – appropriates a concept used in software development and explores its relationship with abstraction. The latter would be unable to hide all of its concrete details; some information gets lost. Cardoso transfers these ideas to the field of painting, where abstraction, generally understood at odds with figuration, evokes the body in a suit of events. In her work, abstraction is grounded by a structure regulated by modular and geometric forms that are both independent and generic (although defined by the artist), – references to the history of abstraction, formalist strategies, etc. – as propositions for and of the body. Abstraction thus promotes leakages within this structure.


Textiles seem to appear as painting’s core and its ground, and weaving as a surface generator, in dialogue with the history of abstraction. It matters to highlight Ana Cardoso's interest in making the weave visible, being it the basis for painting – an organic and mechanical process, a practice that links to composition, experimentation, writing, the moving image, or the creation of musical scores.


The exhibition space is transformed into a scenographic experience composed of a continuum of hanging vertical strips – hand dyed and woven –, traversing the exhibition and directing the visitor. The group of works on display propose an immersive installation, a sequence whose elements dialogue and cross-complement from the work titles, to phenomenological and spatial relations, to the elements that emerge, get lost, and communicate between canvases.


Ana Cardoso (Lisbon, 1978) lives and works in New York and Lisbon. Her practice focuses on abstraction, performance, and installation through an investigation of painting and its limits in specific contexts. Ana Cardoso dismantles the traditional quadrangular forms of the medium and, far from all geometry, approaches organic or material solutions. With an MFA in Painting (Hunter College, New York) and a BA in Painting (Fine Arts School – University of Lisbon), Ana Cardoso was a grantee of the Pollock Krasner Foundation (New York, 2019-2020) and a finalist of the 2017 EDP Foundation New Artists Award. Among the venues where her work was exhibited are the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon, 2019), Parapet Real Humans (St. Louis, 2018), Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea (Lisbon, 2015), The Kitchen (New York, 2009).

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