texto por / text by LUIS MARIA RODRIGUES BAPTISTA fotos de / photos by ANA M. MOURÃO e/and LUIS MARIA RODRIGUES BAPTISTA
_We’ve all at some point been surprised by a window or a door lying ajar, affording a view into some kind of inner space. We’re walking on the street, and all of a sudden we obliquely invade a stranger’s hall, kitchen, living room or bedroom.
We catch involuntary glimpses of fragments of that place and feel tempted to go in. We slow down, step back according to the intensity of what we’ve seen, and ready ourselves to take a better look. To venture further in. Failing to do so, we’re left with the suspected intensity of what we think we’ve seen. We fill our lives with sideways glances into foreign inner spaces, with the secrets, stories, joys, passions and fears we imagine lie behind doors and windows found half open on the fronts of buildings, in the outer spaces where we daily travel. All inner spaces are parallel to each other. When they intersect, they enlighten and blind us all at once. They give rise to what we insist on calling Love Stories.
Ana M. Mourão is like an inner space turned inside out.
She lives in upper Algés, at the top of Alegre street, in an inner space below street level, all but secluded from any public view. You enter it as you would the secrete space of a magic cavern, spiralling down. Silently. You go in and descend. In so doing, you first traverse a halfway space where you may stop for a rest. Only then do you step into the ample underground floor where it all happens: inner spaces, objects, projects, journeys, paintings, sketches. A myriad of images. A marvellous inner city. Surrounded by shadows and colours, canvases, tulles and papers, toolboxes, books and gadgets, multiple possibilities for creating images, Ana M. Mourão is a designer/painter of quivering strokes.
Of many lines that wind around her and repeat themselves obsessively. It’s as if she’s the negative of the one with whom she shares the streets of the ample inner space that she inhabits: Nuno. She’s the one in charge of doing the imaginary daily update of our district’s inner atlas (a collection of maps and inner charts). Day by day, in silence, for hours on end, Ana M. Mourão, like a Sisyphus of quivering lines, draws cartographies of the absurd . Only therapeutically, she says. With no additional explanation. Only therapeutically, she reaffirms. She draws maps of lines, filled with contours, labyrinths, playful patterns and optical distortions. Glimpses of landscapes in high or low relief, on inner or outer planes, which those who visit her immediately proceed to soar above and plunge into, for they lie scattered all over the place where she lives. Like a virus which, as time goes by, spreads throughout the surrounding space, covering walls, pavements, chairs, tabletops, fabrics and the body of whoever ventures to make contact with all those contaminated inner places: Ana M. Mourão, her magic cave and all the interior objects she therapeutically weaves into cocoons. They become spaces you can step on: carpet-scapes, places for you to sit: chair-scapes, frames: window-scapes, spaces you can wear: fabric-scapes. Places for contemplation which quickly interact with our body and infiltrate it, intricately. On entering this space, you risk being overwhelmed by a sense of constantly shifting in size, brought on by her drawings of lines and borders, by the ample subterraneous inner space and the silent frenzy of the streets that course through the inner city where she lives and works. She gives shape to invisible and unnameable domains, which, until the moment they take form, remain unknown to us all, no-one knowing where they begin and where they end. They seem foreign even to her.
Topographies, geographies, morphologies, typologies... full-body fingerprints. Lines. Several lines. Tangled lines you can almost always tell apart and which, here and there, at moments of intensity and sights of rough terrain, intermingle and weave together into intricate black spaces, filled with quivering convulsion, before running once again free and resuming their parallel trajectories. She’s our guide into silence. We hear her as she practises, performs, dresses, enters, mimes the landscapes she gives shape to, and her lines become Ari(ana)’s threads that guide us through the maze of her design. In that state of absolute serenity, which often quavers as does any deep inner space, seething with hidden manoeuvres, Ana M. Mourão traces the universal domains of our district: the secret of this painterarchitect’s inner space, where she, like Daedalus, builds the private mazes of each and every one of us. She’s at once the client, the architect, the maze, its prisoner, the guiding thread and the one who knows how to soar above it at the ideal height. She admires it from up high and allows herself to plunge down repeatedly. That’s how she’s able to secretly expand and intensify it, from that inner city she inhabits, both poetic and therapeutically, somewhere at the top of Alegre street, in upper Algés, within our very own district. Ari(ana)’s thread is the chain of thought.
She’s the one imagining us while she draws. The one gazing upon us. The one giving shape to the spaces we inhabit every day without questioning the sense of novelty and strangeness we feel as we tread them. She’s the one who magnifies, intensifies and modifies all the spaces that each of us visits individually and which support the most important winding and spiralling movements of our lives.
Ana M. Mourão is the therapeutic updater of our real and ideal boundaries. As time ticks by, she never tires of the mythical task she’s charged with: ceaselessly updating the imaginary boundaries of our district in their never ending expansion. Each individual event in each of our lives subtly changes them. That’s the unconscious and poetic process whereby she draws her ever-changing inner cartographies. They’re always outdated. She’s the only one who can see them. The inner spaces she sets down are living organisms in constant expansion. That trembling hand that paints/draws them never knows where to begin or end the line that defines the new boundary set by the reflection of outer movements within her self. That’s why she jumps the rails, spatters the page with blots of ink. She’s quick to assimilate them as outer reflections that she neither can nor wishes to control. She quivers. She makes us shiver when we think that those reflected spaces are images of us. Drawn on rolls, on large, medium and small formats of paper and canvas, spread throughout walls, pavements and ceilings, objects, pieces of fabric, the inner atlas of our district starts to appear. She’s drawing it in fragments. It isn’t yet available to our collective gaze. Only those who share her space are privy to it. Bringers of news from outside, they help her care for the poetic quality of her ever shifting limits. One of these days Ana M. Mourão will surface. She’s sure to shimmer serenely. I don’t know whether we’ll notice. Nevertheless, we’re a part of her with all our inner motions. Ana M. Mourão is a (poetic) mirror! She’s the external mirror of any internal space. The inner city where she lives in Alegre street is the great maze inspired by all those who enter it. Before we go down into it, we may admire it from above. We belong to it. We just don’t know it yet. It strikes us as if we’re gazing inwards. Only when going up the stairs on our way out because we always end up leaving, unlike the maze of Greek mythology marvelling at all that we’ve had access to, do we recognize older maps filled with boundaries woven into other materials, hanging on the wall near the ceiling, where we’d already glimpsed them, distractedly, when we’d come in without seeing ourselves reflected therein. Only when rising on our way out, when turning around to take it all in before saying our goodbyes, do we realize that we’d already been there. That’s the place we’re from. It’s at that moment of insight that we truly see the inner space where we’re voluntarily bound. We realize that what we’ve been gleaning the whole time we’ve spent there were the new contours of the inner spaces we’ll find upon returning outside. We were awarded the grand poetic order of the quivering line. The line that registers the imaginary boundaries of the inner spaces in our district, constantly updated and always expanding, which doesn’t allow itself to be confined to any previous border and which casts infinite reflections of the inner space of those who give it shape in voluntary captivity. Thank you Ana and Nuno!
IMAGINARY OEIRAS_OEIRAS IMAGINÁRIA