Amor-Próprio by Ana Vidigal
Since we’re now in quarantine, the exhibition Amor-Próprio cannot be visited. Nevertheless, the artist has kindly made available a video so that one may be able to see the works virtually.
Ana Vidigal’s exhibition Amor-Próprio incites an inevitable exercise in revisionism, partially in the feminine field. The images succeed each other, in a connection with a primordial, unique and central picture. All the others gravitate around it, in simple transmutations and slight modifications.
It is as if, in this complex system of images, there were an elected one. And, around it, all the others are modified and transfigured. Depending on the artist’s position, where the central image is, in her perception, possible relations between a present and a past stand out. A past that, according to the artist’s recollections, is prodigalized, dissipated, exposed and risky, around the idea that there are no images superimposed over time in importance. But only those that the artist decides to reveal and emphasize.
The being who can remember knows that they will have to leave their central position, no longer seeing the images in their real proportion, in the position that the others occupy. As proved by the lace and embroidery schemes of the old and yellowed magazines Fada do Lar, intervened by the artist. This underlines the idea of memory of a certain woman, evoked by Vidigal. In an effort to modify and reconstruct this memory, the artist says, perhaps for this reason, that it is “to brush on the memory”. Aware of the movement and permanent dislocation of the first memory towards the adjustment of the memory envisioned by the artist. Memory is also to modify, to accommodate history to make it favorable, comfortable and pleasant to those who remember it. And Ana Vidigal, with this exhibition, clarifies: “brush over memory”, but “destroying it”.
Brushes, some more dense and opaque, others thinner and simpler, reveal the unique trait of a distant time, representative of a feminine who secretly submitted herself to a blind obedience and repetitive rituals and practices, fortifying that humble bonhomie. A woman who made an effort to serve her future husband, providing comfort, still as a girl, with her trousseau, in an effort to love the other. Filled with candid images of docile little ducks, country figures, sinuous lace. Everything to put on the table, as a matter of obedience.
In Vidigal, the affective memory will always be important. It is not the memory of Ebbinghaus, who defended the act of repetition to produce a memory. This helped to memorize the math table, typical of that time, subjected to the process of cumulative learning, typical of the time of the issues of Fada do Lar, worked by the artist.
Tacitly, by the hands of the imprisoned woman, repeated actions are automatically reproduced, until perfection is reached. The Images used by these women, as schemes, diagrams, embroidery drawings, are ingrained in our memory and returned by the artist as stains: some standardized, others with more diluted outlines.
At Espaço 351, Galeria Fernando Santos, in Porto.