Ana Vitória Mussi | Lethe, Mnemosyne

Between Lethe and Mnemosyne, The image Humus

What if, in fact, image reality was overlooked, unknown? Its dual nature always ambiguous and ambivalent? And if its own root took us to an enigmatic territory, in which no coded visuality would guarantee anything? If nothing was assured or completely certain? Wouldn’t we then be returning to a certain imagery matrix, to the acknowledgment that “an image is never a simple reality” (as Jacques Rancière says, among others)?   And where, on the other hand, everything gathers, reconciles, reconnects, not having domestic separations, for example, of photos, images, supports, devices, records? Within these coordinates, so embracing, intense and, at the same time, labile, disquieting, Ana Vitória Mussi’s poetics inscribes itself, since her beginning in the early 70s. A pioneer artist who would illustrate, as a paraphrase, writer Augusto Monterroso’s short story (“When I woke up, the dinosaur was still there”); because when the term photo-art appeared decades later, the artist had already been there, a long time ago, inventing her own photographic corpus, so hybrid as it is differentiated.

A poetics immersed in the exploration of what could be the return to the image humus, to its ground wires, layers, to the connections that widen photography to today’s artistic and iconographic visuality, and, in short, to the search for a new place proper as a genre; difficult condition in the midst of visibilities inflation, mediatized images, etc… For all of her work, up to today’s endless production, is guided by this performative exploration of the image, in which it is treated until the confluence with the object through singular signification operations; the creation of an unprecedented fluctuating imagery regime, because, deep inside, it is always a question of reaching the unprecedented, the inaugural, this primal felt and cognitive emotion that reestablishes the connection with our experience of beings condemned to create a specular ontology: to think with the eyes.

A photography that rereads all its historical materiality (films, slides, negatives, paper, the imaginary) and its digital virtuality or extra-materiality (mixed techniques, computer, three-dimensionality). Thus we meet with visual offerings in which the photographic image chameleonizes, returns to its lost memory magma – perforated and cut photographs and negatives –, being from her personal life, being from her social life as a reporter. Two symbolic artworks of this exhibition, Lethê and Mnemosyne, place themselves at the curb of the time, when visual addition surpasses narration itself, and narration surpasses sense itself. Right now the so-called digital memory is speaking for us, but most of the time without any value (knowing that it is indiscreet, against the contrary, to denunciate this impersonation). Undoubtedly, we are already at the stage where we’re not capable of forgetting or remembering, according to a Byung-Chul Han’s critical thought, since we are between two bottomless voids, without life biography.

Perhaps it is important once again to emphasize the fundamental operation of Ana Vitória Mussi’s poetics, a different proposal for our relationship with photography, how it moves the place where we see, in short, the change of our look. And potentiating her desire to see the invisible, some substantial background, the resonances… With an approach and distance from the contemporary visuality universe that redefines the exciting place of photography, its critical role as a porous medium, nothing teleological, as contaminated photography close to our perplexity of “iconphorus”  beings (icon carriers, according to Gottfried Boehm), that, important aspect, constructs a culture of the eye, it has the engaged freedom to let see.

Curator | Adolfo Montejo Navas