Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation

Ana Vaz

Depth of Field
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In July and August the opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays from 12 to 21 h.

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Depth of Field inaugurates a new exhibition with the work of Brazilian artist Ana Vaz.

To make a film is to make a world, to formulate an aesthetic and narrative discourse that surpasses, by virtue of a superfluity, or implements, by default, its approach to the scenario that we call ‘reality’. Ana Vaz (1986, Brasilia) does this through superfluity, compiling, stringing together and overlaying images that defy the space-time coordinates of the places she portrays, her purpose being to call into question the existence of the supposed fundamental difference between the natural and the artificial.

What matters is not what we speak about but the way in which we speak about them and according greater importance to questions in our search for answers. Vaz employs a fragmented, cryptic and multi-perspective narrative that challenges the linear style of recounting and the cause-and-effect device common in conventional audio-visual practices. The viewer’s attention is directed to the gesturality of her subjects, the people, animals and landscapes, powerful totems with which we can only forge relationships sensitively. The artist deliberately employs ethnographic cinematographic language–spontaneous camera movements, zooms in and out and the choice of unusual framings to portray the exoticism of the ‘object’–and positions herself like a hunter readying to capture images. Consequently, she defines her practice as a ritual of observation from a place of invisibility. The hunter, however, is always at risk of potentially turning into prey.

To produce a world in this way, one must begin by positioning the camera and framing the shot, and it is then that one hears the first phrase that is uttered off-camera, because what is seen and what is omitted by means of ellipsis are of equal importance. And it is through the gaze of these real people that the viewer becomes a fellow-participant in this exploit, becomes conscious that they are also part of this outside.

In three of Vaz’s early works A Idade da Pedra [The Age of Stone], 2013, Occidente, 2014, and Há Terra! [There is Land!], 2016, she reveals a stance that we might term ‘ideological’: a refusal to present a complete story, to close the framework or to establish a narrative that is a ‘Whole’, preferring instead a way of telling that unpicks even as it tautens the complexity of the many layers that unfold each time a tale is presented.

In Atomic Garden, 2018, Vaz’s thought-provoking style shifts to become more propositional and direct, presenting a postapocalyptic and agitated vision of a world full of mutant flowers that welcome pollution and fireworks. Beauty and chaos as a way of considering the action and presence of humans on the planet.

And thus Ana Vaz goes about making a world, regarding her artistic practice as a force, as a rite through which it is possible to relinquish one’s own self in order to approach and empathise–or problematise–with the other, thereby forging a connection that exceeds rational parameters. Employing a kind of practice akin to anthropophagy by positing the possibility of merging with otherness, of breaking up every a priori relationship. And film as a praxis that can be used to invent other ways of seeing and of relating to images.

Ana Vaz (b. 1986, Brasília) is an artist and filmmaker. Trained at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and at Le Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Vaz was also a member of the SPEAP (Sciences Po, École des Arts Politiques) project conceived and directed by Bruno Latour. Presentations of her work include Tate Modern (London), TABAKALERA (San Sebastian), New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival or Cinéma du Réel (Paris). In 2015, she was the recipient of the Kazuko Trust Award presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in recognition of artistic excellence and innovation in her moving-image work.

10 de julio, 19 h: Apertura exposición

12 de julio, 20.30 h: Encuentro con Ana Vaz en Cineteca Madrid + proyección de cortos dentro de su ciclo AR, FOGO, TERRA, ÁGUA. Más info aquí

A Idade da pedra, Ana Vaz (2013)