Mónica de Miranda: PANORAMA
Mónica de Miranda’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Based in Lisbon, Portugal, de Miranda is an artist of Angolan descent whose photography and mixed media based work deals with themes of geography and identity, expressing meditative visions of personal history and exploring the poetics of belonging.
The exhibition takes its title from the Hotel Panorama in Luanda, but also refers to the ownership and power implied by the construction of views of landscapes. In de Miranda’s photographic work, we see visions of the past and present of Angola as witnessed through its architectural geography: hotels, swimming pools and cinemas, mid-century modernist buildings which once served as monuments to colonial leisure, have been abandoned, repurposed, and are being silently reclaimed by the lush natural landscape. These urban spaces bear witness to the country’s troubled history of colonization, decolonization, civil war, gentrification and globalization.
Two twins occupy the various landscapes, cryptic characters evoking a multiplicity of selves, or a mirroring of self and other, revealing the sense of duality inherent in the experience of migration and diaspora. Mixed emotions of nostalgia and alienation are expressed through images of spaces both domestic and public, in and around the capital of Luanda, as well as in Malanje, the city east of Luanda where the artist’s mother grew up. These photographs capture the mournful dichotomy of tenderness and distance, which plays out in the way we relate to locations with strong ancestral and historical ties.
De Miranda’s images are transformed into panoramic, absorbing installations, hinting at the idea that our own position as subject may influence our perception of physical spaces, both architectural and natural. The artist also intervenes on the surface of her photographs with wax and pigments, both enriching their texture and colour, and alluding to the process of preservation – in these materials we get the sense of the relationship between memory and history, and the way in which memory both colours history and works to keep it alive.
Mónica de Miranda received her PhD in Visual Art from the University of Middlesex, London, in 2014. She is currently developing her research project: Post-archive at CEC (Centre of Comparative Studies, University of Lisbon). She is the founder of the Project Hangar at the Centre of Artistic Research in Lisbon, as well as helping to found an artistic residency project Triangle Network in Portugal. In 2016 the artist was nominated for the Novo Banco Photo Prize in Portugal, as well as being shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Photo Award (France).
Selected solo shows include: Arrivals and departures at the Palácio D. Manuel in Évora, Portugal (2016); Hotel Globo at the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado, Lisbon (2015); Arquipélago at Galeria Carlos Carvalho, Lisbon (2014); Erosion at Appleton Square, Lisbon (2013) and An Ocean Between Us at Plataforma Revólver, Lisbon (2012).
Recent group exhibitions include: Le jour qui vient, curated by Marie-Ann Yemsi, Galerie des Galeries, Galeries Lafayette, Paris, France (2017); Exposição Daqui pra frente: Arte contemporânea em Angola, CAIXA Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2017); Technologies of Violence, Centro de Art Santa Mónica, Barcelona, Spain (2016); Contemporary African Art and Aesthetics of Translations, Dak’Art Biennale of African Contemporary Art in Senegal (2016) and A visão incorporada – Performance para a câmara, Museu do Chiado (MNAC), Lisbon, Portugal (2014).
De Miranda’s work is part of a number of collections, including that of the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado (MNAC), the Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa and the Centro Cultural de Lagos.