Mariana Dias Coutinho
(b.1978, Lisbon, where she lives and works).
I dream a lot and sleep very little
I have the Romantic idea that art is always the expression of oneself, a sort of biography. Nowadays, it may be taboo to admit, but in my opinion, art is emotion, or it should be.
My creative process is based on inspiration from the subjective life: dreams, passion, intuition, longing, nature and the strength of legends and popular myths, but always deliberately appropriating, decontextualizing and subverting the realities of daily life, trying to materialize concepts that challenge the dogmas and routines of existence.
Beginning with exercises of reminiscence (conscious or unconscious), somewhat Bosch-like compositions appear, revealing intense drama and expressive feelings. They are disturbing and heavy in their approach to beauty, humor, darkness/guilt in the same breath.
These compositions arise from the melting of elements and symbols loaded with interpretations. They are located where the multiplicity and fragmentation of the narratives (that accumulate and overlap, and sometimes contradict themselves) generate ambiguity and tension. They then proceed to question several aspects of the statements of both personal and collective identity, the understanding of the issues of gender and the way they structure contemporary social practices, and especially those concerning the female universe (status, identity and class).
I am interested in the field of the poetic interpretation, away from immediate recognition, heavy in ambiguity, enabling a gentle/subtle reaction or stated/non-stated humor, emphasizing critique and comment on the individual human drama.
Reflection on the multiple set of values and languages of what is depicted may function while critical expression of the definitions of gender and sexuality help create a perspective, exacerbating all the concerns and prejudices by introducing notes of black humor. By enabling tension and disturbance, my art imposes a revision of all the moral standards referring to human sexuality and society’s conceptualization of it.