Mercedes Mangrané Recompensa

05 Sep - 20 Sep 2017


For some years, the interest of Mercedes Mangrané has orbited around the consumer society, public space, the privatization and the spectacularization of nature, formalizing it mainly with painting and video.

For her first solo exhibition at Ana Mas Projects, Mercedes Mangrané shows “Recompensa” (“Reward”), a series of paintings and a video installation about the sport imagery as a reinforcement of consumption habits. From her immediate daily life, she works around the traces and narrations of effort and individualism distilled from the leisure spaces, -from instagram to gymnasium-, through the study of archetypes associated to comfort. When the line between public and private spaces is blurry due to an overexposed life, leisure spaces are joined as business and the notion of “taking care” becomes an exercise of visibility of one’s own effort. It is at this point that the artist stands to propose a tour of different series (“Shade”, “Clumsy”, “Hold on”, “Machines”, etc) that from the very plasticity of painting – as if it was a metaphor of the impossibility of a body to return to its original dimension after the load that caused the deformation – metaphorically challenges the reflection about a society that describes itself from the narratives of triumph and efficiency: foggy and bordered windows create a supposed confusion between the “indoors” or “outdoors”; Gym infrastructures posing as characters; Industrial elements of furniture protections, etc.

From a chromatic kindness – pastel colors, soft monochromes, greasy fillings – the artist tries the devices to become harmless despite the biopolitical order, which talks us about life control.

Mercedes Mangrané



It is not easy, nowadays, to claim a discipline like painting. In just 15 years, the Internet has ended up dominating our lives by immersing ourselves in a world of tremendously fleeting and ephemeral images, increasingly conditioned by the tyranny of trends. What role can something so slow and difficult have in a reality where hardly anything has time to settle?

Painting is something that is only completed at the moment when interacts with the observer, but that has always been a moment of recollection. To look at painting is to listen to what someone is telling you, and that secret dialogue, in the accelerated reality that we live in, is one of the things that has been perverted the most. I think it was Hernández Pijuan who once told me about the difficulty of obtaining good art publications in Spain during Franco’s dictatorship, and how he was searching again and again for a catalog with reproductions in black and white that he kept in his house, whose important influence marked his youth.

Today we consume images as if we drank from a waterfall, but most of them go through us without even noticing. And paint does not allow that, it does not work on that frequency. The speed in its perception strips it out of the body, it trivializes it into something merely graphic, when in fact it is something volumetric, tangible, even aromatic. It is precisely their discomfort and maladjustment to the immaterial ecosystem of the networks that has turned painting into a form of resistance, restoring its usefulness.

The work of Mercedes is made from that fine conceptual material that the reality of today has made me miss. For his courage to speak from the small format, and for doing so in a timid, ambiguous, even contradictory voice, balancing between figuration and abstraction, without needing to define. As if his last will was to demonstrate the precariousness of the fragile balance between what he sees and does not see the light. It is a work that lives on the edge of things, right where it is more difficult today to cross with any opinion.

The silence of these paintings, in the midst of this great noise, made me think again of what once caught me in painting: that intimate reward hidden in the game of doing, teaching and looking. That secret satisfaction of one who, almost always alone, discovers, sees, says or does something essentially genuine, that exists only thanks to his effort.

David Steegmann

Installation views