Oana Coșug in dialogue with Yasmina Assbane
ARCOLisboa 2023

25 May – 28 May, 2023
Opening Section curated by Chus Martinez & Luiza Teixeira de Freitas
Booth OP06

Best booth presentation award

Anca Poterașu Gallery presents at ARCOLisboa a dialogue between Yasmina Assbane and Oana Cosug, two artists exploring visually and materiality the image of the body as a cleavage between a deeply personal experience and a socio-cultural construct.

Inspired by the literary work of Virginia Woolf, the title of the exhibition “I am in the mood to dissolve in the sky”, brings back into the artistic discourse the subject of femininity and, in particular, the fragile dimension of sexuality, which “dissolves” in the artistic works by the force of exposure in an endless play of the gaze. The simultaneous perception of the body as subject and object is an endless play between the desire to “touch” and “be touched” in the works of both artists.

This ambivalence is embodied in a constant tension between the desire of touch and isolation, presence and absence, extension and retrenchment. The fragile figure of the body takes the form of wavering and uncertain gestures emerging at the convergence of the uncanny and the ordinary. Fragility also suggests, in the conceptual realm of the image, the invasion of an inherent intimacy of the artistic object-subject that becomes vulnerable and susceptible in the act of viewing and contemplation.

Yasmina Assbane questionsthe dominant perception of the women body as an object of decoration and consumption of the gaze. Her artistic approach is strongly rooted in the daily mundanity and in the material life of familiar objects essentially attributed to women. They are emptied of their primary function through dismantling and symbolic reconfiguration strategies. In her view, “although not all women are artists or writers, all women have the mastery of objects and stewardship”. An important feature of her work, therefore, is the know-how acquired by women through the ‘art of the display’ and ‘arranging things’ in the domestic space, which the artist transfigures, in her vision, into an ‘aesthetic of retrenchment’: confinement into the space and materiality of those objects as a defensive strategy. Fragile, graceful and mysterious materials such as glass, mirror and textiles are the insertions of a female imaginary, dismantled and reassembled in a system of “fortification” of one’s own.

In her most recent drawings and paintings, Oana Coșug explores through watercolor and ink the boundaries of the touch of two bodies shaped between a discreet sensuality and an overflowing anxiety. The body reveals itself as a spontaneous and balanced process, exposing a range o conflicting emotions. Female and male characters are successively distorted and gradually take on fluid features and diffuse identities. The figures are detached and overlapped in such a way as to create an illusion of a blurred movement. Some characters are solitary and trapped in claustrophobic spaces. The others appear as anonymous couples constantly adjusting the relationship between self and other.