¿De qué casa eres? Episodios de un cotidiano. Del bando republicano de la Guerra Civil Española 792

¿De qué casa eres? Episodios de un cotidiano. Del bando republicano de la Guerra Civil Española  is Ana Pérez-Quiroga (APQ) ’s first solo show at NO⋅NO gallery in Lisbon.

In this show, APQ presents another development of the work ¿De qué casa eres?, based on the research around her mother's life experience. Angela Petra, a four year old daughter of Republican parents, in the middle of the Spanish civil war, had - from one day to the next - her address moved to Russia. Angela Petra would return “home” just two decades later, an adult and trained in medicine, and then move to Portugal, where she lived to this day.

If the “episodes” explored by APQ in previous shows always went beyond the emotional relationship of the personal history from which they departed, exploring structural dimensions  such as history, society or politics, in this show, with a thematic and imaginary focus on war, APQ proposes to “open” the body of work ¿De qué casa eres ?, to the present.

Often our historical present - political, social, and now the pandemic and health crisis that we are going through - is described in real time by a speech that uses terms rescued from war and by war metaphors. Expressions such as: “battlefield”, “against the enemy”, “guarding ammunition”, “gathering weapons”, “living in the trenches”, etc., have been integrating the language that tells our present. The account of the world we live in, with the acceleration of its transmission through social media, is faced with the war of the Post-Truth and its variants. Now, in a reality surpassed by dystopian scenarios, the language, clumsily, seeks to assign new meanings to old words.

The use of language in the work of APQ is recurrent, namely in the phrases, expressions or currencies that it materializes in neon pieces. Neon writing gives language - speech - a sculptural character, relating to the use of space by the body. I believe, however, that in this exhibition, language plays a different role: there is no neon writing (nor embroidered writing, to give another example of materialisation of writing in APQ work) of personal phrases. Instead, there is the inscription, with spray on canvas - as is done in flags or banners - of slogans, gleaned from different times, geographies, struggles, revolutions, theatres of war. Slogans, by definition, translate thoughts that identify principles, ideals, revolts ... of a given community. The tension between the personal and the political, an eminently feminist premise, is easily detectable in APQ's uses of language. But if we think that APQ uses language as a material, we can translate it for the choice of objects, for the grain of the voice, for the wind that blows over a body in a landscape.

Artists' thinking is characterised by the freedom with which it crosses conceptual, material or temporal boundaries. That is why the reading against the grain of  the past in the present that APQ presents is vital to us today. Because, although "Separated, we are together." (“Séparés, on est ensemble.” Mallarmé) and we live in the same present.

Maria do Mar Fazenda
October 31st, 2020