Ana Léon

Learn about the artist's universe through a text accompanied by a selection of works from the exhibition “All I want – Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020”

By Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes

LévitationsOriginal Source: Collection of the Artist

The serial nature of drawing is at the root of Ana Léon’s exploration of the language of cinematographic animation. Manually created moving images and the transition from abstraction to figuration are defining concerns in the artist’s work.

Jeux…Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Léon uses dolls with jointed limbs or made of clay as her main visual elements, which she then manipulates and photographs against black backdrops, shooting a complete Super 8 film image by image. She then gives her animations a soundtrack made up of clips of music from various sources. Other works include video productions, but the visual crudeness and aged look invariably reveal the artisanal and fragile nature of the entire process.

Jeux…Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Jeux…, 1998
Video, colour, sound, 4:3, PAL, 3'01''; Ed. 2/4
Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, inv. FS 1651

LévitationsOriginal Source: Collection of the Artist

The soundscape and visual setting, complete with volatile lighting, add to the psychological strain. The actions, interactions, performances and choreography of the characters – humans, animals and toys – range from violent and cruel to innocent and absurd, playful and laughable, thus conveying a childlike perversity coupled with a poetic, melancholic and haunting atmosphere.

LévitationsOriginal Source: Collection of the Artist

“The themes deal with conflicts and unlikely communication,” says the artist, referring to the tension that also plagues the relationship between the production of film and the creation of drawing within her work, which is at once autonomous, metamorphic and cannibalistic.

LévitationsOriginal Source: Collection of the Artist

Lévitations, 2019
Super 8 animation transferred to digital, soundtrack, 2'20''
Collection of the Artist

Learn more about the artist:
Ana Léon | Fundação de Serralves

Credits: Story

Selection of works presented at the exhibition All I want: Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020, in its first moment at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, within the scope of the cultural program that takes place in parallel to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021.

Exhibition organized by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in co-production with the Center of Contemporary Creation Olivier Debré, Tours, and with the collaboration of the Plano Nacional das Artes (Portugal).

Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand

Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes
Selection of online resources Maria de Brito Matias

Learn more about Ana Léon's works presented in the context of this exhibition:
All I want: Starting Point

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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