OFF-SITE [2019]

Ana Velez | Joana Gomes | Maria Sassetti | Xana Sousa

Atelier Contencioso is the work space of four women artists: Ana Velez, Joana Gomes, Maria Sassetti, and Xana Sousa. Founded in 2015, it emerged from the common need to find a viable work space, as well as from the closeness and parallelism that exists between the artists' pictorial production.

The works they have been creating, both as collective art interventions and as group exhibitions, set from a site-specific line of thought, considering the place with its specificities. However, this idea of “place” as the centre of production does not comprise in its totality the complexity of the work that has been developed. Contributing with four distinct bodies of work, each common project is loaned a multiplicity of concepts and references which, sometimes, also respond to specific commissions.

In its collective production, Atelier Contencioso also explores continuously the notion of impossibility and multiplication. In the Off-site project, the intention was to occupy this temporary exhibition space with works specifically related to the place. Each of the artists presents objects removed or replicated from a real context – off-site –, here installed and elevated to other readings. The process of creation of the works implies, in itself, the repetition of movements, shapes, and media, the idea of excess thus remaining subjacent.

Ana Velez and Maria Sassetti reflect on an infinite path, be it a line that is cyclically prolonged or a silver road. The rugged surface of Ana Velez's tiles and Maria Sassetti's perforated paper allude to tactile sensations in the viewers, aiming at transporting them to other situations.

Xana Sousa and Joana Gomes, through the rhythmic demarcation of vertical lines, either pleated in paper or white on canvas, respectively, play with the contradiction of an “inwards overflow” and the impossibility of “playing” / “manipulating” or “observing” an object-image. Xana Sousa presents jigsaw puzzles that are [un]playable and closed through the artistic intervention, while Joana Gomes, using the colours that exist in the space and in the surrounding landscape, captures the place in painting.

Both Maria Sassetti and Xana Sousa make use of the game, the play, and the revelry that exist in our collective memory, in this house-palace. However, they do so in an unexpected way, attributing aesthetic character and as objects decontextualised from their common use.

Ana Velez and Joana Gomes mount their paintings and drawings in the “frames” of the stately rooms, pretending the natural pertinence.

The co-production of the Off-site project with Underdogs – a project that rests on three fields, with an art gallery, a public art programme, and the production of editions – emerges from a mutual sharing and identifying of ideals in the contemporary artistic approach and in the relevance of art's role in society and the community. Namely, in the urban efervescence and the visual and creative stimuli provided to the viewer outside the more institutional and conventional cultural circuit.

Atelier Contencioso & Underdogs Gallery

Photos © César Reis