Leaky Abstraction, an exhibition by Ana Cardoso – finalist of EDP Foundation New Artists Award 2017 – is based on her research around the medium of painting. Exploring optical illusions allowed by the geometry of forms and a gestural and material based painting, Cardoso combines and simultaneously sabotages historical solutions of hard-edge and abstract painting with craft based practices: mixing or connecting dyed and hand-woven unpainted canvases with hand-painted industrial canvases, for instance.
The title – Leaky Abstraction – appropriates a concept used in software development and explores its relationship with abstraction. The latter would be unable to hide all of its concrete details; some information gets lost. Cardoso transfers these ideas to the field of painting, where abstraction, generally understood at odds with figuration, evokes the body in a suit of events. In her work, abstraction is grounded by a structure regulated by modular and geometric forms that are both independent and generic (although defined by the artist), – references to the history of abstraction, formalist strategies, etc. – as propositions for and of the body. Abstraction thus promotes leakages within this structure.
Textiles seem to appear as painting’s core and its ground, and weaving as a surface generator, in dialogue with the history of abstraction. It matters to highlight Ana Cardoso’s interest in making the weave visible, being it the basis for painting – an organic and mechanical process, a practice that links to composition, experimentation, writing, the moving image, or the creation of musical scores.
The exhibition space is transformed into a scenographic experience composed of a continuum of hanging vertical strips – hand dyed and woven –, traversing the exhibition and directing the visitor. The group of works on display propose an immersive installation, a sequence whose elements dialogue and cross-complement – from the work titles, to phenomenological and spatial relations, to the elements that emerge, get lost, and communicate between canvases.