‘Clouds, bikes, lines, trees (…) present (…) are symbols both of nostalgia and melancholy and of the joy and freedom of someone who knows that the minimum is an ally of the maximum and that it prescinds of the human figure, aware that, today, it is omnipresent.’

‘Degraus sem fim e outras nuvens’, Carlos Bessa, 2004

Smultronstället, Room 3 at Lugar do Desenho - Fundação Júlio Resende, Jan 2013

Smultronstället, the title for this exhibition carries us, on the one hand, towards that which is considered one of the Ingmar Bergman’s masterpieces (Smultronstället, 1957), where a man at the end of his life reassess his experience, conquering, at the end, the most sublime moments that leave him in tranquility and at peace with life; on the other hand, it carries us for the emblematic and well-known Beatles song (Strawberry Fields Forever) from one of their most hallucinogenic albums (Magical Mystery Tour, 1967). Nevertheless, and not far from the different meanings in which the term is conjugated and may be interpreted in these both works, Smultronstället, which literally makes reference to a place where wild strawberries grow, transports us, as Ana Linhares’ nostalgic and often melancholic landscapes to an ideal place, certainly with a personal and/or emotional stamp, free from stress, sadness and mainly free from the most trivial and petty aspects of our lives, which, at the end, is one of the best assets that describe art, regardless of its appearance, expression, language or even the senses we use to perceive it: an escape to reality, an act of unveiling or even better the ability to make visible what wasn’t at all visible before or even imaginable, or simply (re)educating its to see the world and things in a different perspective, new and renewed.
Therefore, it is by this new vantage point or rather, if we prefer, by the ‘Take me there once again’, expression used in other occasions by Ana Linhares to contextualize some of her work, that we should let ourselves go, with our hands and eyes, while seeing her exhibition, not to revisit it, since it is in fact unprecedent, but rather with the objective of being taken away, once again, free from pre-conceived ideas, for a somewhat immaculate territory and seeing quite beyond the surface of the numerous layers of information underlying to the photographs, prints and sets of images being presented.
Interestingly and most certainly one of the most admirable works of this small great show, at the recently inaugurated room at Lugar do Desenho of Fundação Júlio Resende, is the magnificent atlas here presented, composed of a multiplicity of manipulated images and originating in video frames of the magnificent and comprehensive Prelinger Archives, at Tumblr; of family photo albums, books, videos and, for instance, pictures taken in situ by Ana Linhares in different occasions and on places visited by her in the past. In its plenitude or through each individual image, this atlas evokes new and unknown locations while, at the same time and not paradoxically, unveiling and desmystifying one of the processes if not the key process behind the production of these images, the construction of these places, such as and for instance, the other landscapes and the sound (landscape) track that live side by side with the atlas at this exhibit.

Pedro Maia, 2013