PAINTINGS OF THE COMMON AND THE UNCOMFORTABLE . MOACIR DOS ANJOS

The paintings of Vânia Mignone belong to the realm of the uncomfortable and of the restless, of that which is unknown or does not wish to openly name itself. One nearly always finds in them the presence of isolated human figures, wrestled away from the society of others. They are women or men, positioned in loci to which the artist denies exact identification; spaces in which not even a distinction between foreground and background is possible, merged as they are into single blocks of colour. Modelled out of these spaces by means of thick, black and hesitant marks, the figures – swathed in thick pictorial mist - seem to drown in the claustrophobia of a physical and emotional detachment, without, however, conveying any obvious sorrow due to this.

 

In these surroundings of unknown proportions the painted figures have around them tables, chairs, benches, and pots of plants. These elements seem to be more like indications of lives rooted in an excessive introversion, in which only what is close and intimate is of consequence and may enter, rather than imprints of the shelter a home provides. Nevertheless, landscape and architecture are not absent from the images produced: garments are at times adorned with motifs suggesting delicate foliage and furnishings boast scenes printed on their crudely drafted surfaces consisting of domestic animals or patterns, which due to their size and regularity, call to mind the unremarkable tile-work of common walls. They are fragments of a larger world translated into the safe surroundings of an already familiar routine.

 

These paintings make visible places regulated by the subjective that are not otherwise conspicuous to sight. They offer images that mirror pensive systems of inhabiting the world, therefore betraying the isolation tainting ordinary life. However, in spite of this, there is no solidity in the symbolic constructions that these invented situations conjure up since the possible meanings of these scenes always seem to be bordering dismantlement. Contributing to this interpretation of an eminent collapse of meaning we find both the collision of colour tones that stimulate and warm our vision, and the quasi-suspended narratives where something that shall perhaps no longer happen is still awaited.

 

Even the manner in which figures and objects are painted – on the verge of letting themselves be hurled beyond the virtual space of the works – jeopardise the still domesticity the paintings at first assert, bringing nearer what they represent in silence of the blaring din of the world. Conducive to this is the combined employment of words and numbers without any identifiable hierarchy in the images of many paintings. Rather than serving as affirmations of what the scenes inspire, these linguistic and numerical signs amplify, distort, or fragment what they point to, shaping the works of the artist into a platform of investigation lacking any fixed end.

 

Akin to the writings of Clarice Lispector, Vânia Mignone's paintings tackle only what is simple, banal, and common. Moreover, they frequently combine the dreamed and the lived, as if there were no consequences for so doing, as if it were truly necessary to proceed in this manner. And in a fashion similar to Lispector's writings, it is by means of the solitary attention to the commonplace that the artist seeks to point out that which matters most in the world. For all that, the oppressive loneliness to which Mignone subjects her figures seems to bear witness – as so many of Lispector's characters learn – to the fact that there are too many risks in following this path. Still, it is fitting that each one discovers for himself – in paintings, in books, in life –whether they are worth the taking.