Ana Mendes, Ana, 2009, visual poetry, ink and rubber stamp on paper, size 297 x 210 mm © Ana Mendes
Ana Mendes is a Portuguese visual artist and writer based in London, where she finished an MA in Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths College (2011). She also studied video at Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden (2019) and animation film at La Poudriere, Valence, France (2008).
Mendes creates works in video, performance, photography, video, text and installation to speak on subjects such as memory, language and identity. Her work is concept-based and created using as few resources as possible. Some of her projects are created in collaboration with artists, labour workers or scientists, following a process in which Mendes spends a considerable amount of time on her own – researching, experimenting and playing with new ideas until she arrives at a concept that she finds sustainable. Afterwards, she invites other people to collaborate with her, going through a mutual learning process. For instance, in 2014, she initiated her project ‘The People’s Collection’, in which she invited people originating from colonised countries to visit ethnographic museums around the world and rethink their identity on a post-colonial context. Afterwards, she created a collection of postcards that took the name of each participant. Their comments are published in a book that gathers all the details about the project. Her work is quite often described as minimalist and poetic.
Recent solo shows include: Konstepidemin / GIBCA Extended 2021 (Gothenburg International Biennial Contemporary Art), Gothenburg, Sweden; Chelsea College, Telephone Gallery, London, UK, 2019; Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria; Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria, Akademie Schloss Solitude and Linden Museum Stuttgart, Germany (all 2017).
Group shows include: Korean Gallery, Korean Cultural Centre, NY, USA; Taoyuan International Award, Taoyuan Museum of Fine Art, Taiwan; Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, Denmark (all 2021).
Mendes has been the recipient of numerous awards, including: Taoyuan International Award, Honourable Mention and Audience Choice Award, Taoyuan Museum of Fine Art, Taoyuan, Taiwan, 2021; Artist Revelation Award ADAGP/ MAD Days, finalist, Paris/France, 2019; Jerwood Drawing Prize, second prize winner, London, UK, 2017; Honorable Mention, Prize of the Jury, MAAT Museum/Fuso Festival, Lisbon, Portugal, 2016; MAC International Ulster Bank Prize, finalist, Belfast, UK, 2016; Prize of the Jury Sophiensaele, Festival 100 Grad, winner, Berlin, Germany, 2014; Act-Arriaga Prize, winner, Act Festival, Bilbao, Spain, 2012; Literary Award/ Dramaturgy, winner, City of Albufeira, Portugal, 2009; ‘This is not a competition’, co-winner, Artistas Unidos, Lisbon, Portugal, 2008. She has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, namely: Akademie Schloss Solitude 2015/17, Stuttgart, Germany; IASPIS, Stockholm, Sweden, 2017, Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian, Portugal, 2010/11. Her work has been supported by Arts Council England, British Council, Iaspis – The Swedish International Arts Grants Committee for Visual and Applied Arts, Sweden, Migros Culture Percentage, Switzerland, among others.
Mendes has served on the advisory board of Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian, Fellowship programme, since 2020.