Ana Jotta, born 1946 in Lisbon, deals with concepts of authorship vs. originality. Robin Waart, an artist himself, is in and out of love with her show Parterre at Guimarães Vienna, which runs until November 3.
The work of Ana Jotta does not cease to attract. And while it is hard to openly admit that I often do not understand it completely, what happens is this: I am in its pull.
Her show at Guimarães functions literally as a trailer, drawing me into a world where fantasy and fetish cast some sort of spell: the unfinished frame of a wooden horse, painted in a soft pink poised like the skeleton of a Roman warrior with big screws, and a dark knitted cap for its head. Dragging on the chariot behind it is a Portuguese-Latin dictionary, punctuated and adorned with birthday-cake candles that might one day burn in the small former stable that houses the artist-run project space.
Behind the first carriage is a second circular, equally insular one, connected by sisal thread, with a bucket of dying flowers standing atop a set of beer glasses. It is this idea of stable, impossible motion that is also expressed in the cotton fabric on the floor dividing the horse from a small imaginary corridor (which one is allowed to step over, towards the horse and carriage) that leads to the space’s second floor. While the embroidered red lines form a drawing that does not direct but expresses direction itself, in the way it moves towards and crosses this carpet’s printed borders. Its material looks like a long banner of kitchen towel, its lines upsetting the household space it conjures.
The room upstairs has a half set of second walls covered with minty green insulation foam paneling, making the space slightly smaller and offering a view both through an imaginary cut out window to the white wall behind and a more real window looking out onto the courtyard below. This is her »Sissi Room«, a scientific-looking and somewhat spooky interior inside/outside, that connects Guimarães with the actual stables of Empress Sissi in the MuseumsQuartier, right behind Kunsthalle and mumok. Five sheets of monochrome paper are touching the floor, like the color fields that Jotta fills her Instagram account with: the same unnerving flow that she sovereignly and overwhelmingly commands, in digital space as in real-time.
It is no surprise that the eponymous typically Viennese »Parterre« sign downstairs will move to, lead to, and name the new project space in Lisbon that the artist has initiated. This exhibition is not unlike a glass (horse) shoe: it nags. But it fits.