"A. is a person and the first letter of the alphabet. It may be a universal person or part of my imagination." Jana Leo (Madrid, 1965) thus describes the protagonist of this exhibition at Espacio Uno to whom she refers when all visual materials gathered are viewed for the first time.
Jana Leo reveals (or discloses) her life with A through numerous colour images of various sizes, as well as videos, books with photographs in them, as in an album, and various texts.
By her absent presence and her gaze behind the camera, the artist assumes as much prominence as the male character. She is the cause and the recipient of the smile of A. She also uses the white sheets on the bed and especially, it is who reveals her most intimate aspects, such as sleeping, showering or even going to the toilet.
Through these images, Jana Leo shows the control personal relationships can trigger over the other. At the same time, the use of repeated motifs, such as bedding or teddy-bears, is able to give a certain air of series to the collection. In addition she notes how easy it is to capture any and every moment of life.
However, a second more careful viewing of the photographs, books and videos on super-8 (Corte de pelo, Sin nombre, Limpiar el baño, Histérica y Polvo, made between 1996 and 1999) reveals that there is a greater obsession in this visual diary of A. It is the instinct of leaving a trace, so the identity of Jana Leo is built from the trace and imprint it leaves on the life of the couple.
Love, death, violence, tenderness and time shared are themes to all her pieces which unfold in the exhibition space. Jana Leo does not pursue an aesthetic will and, despite the natural appearance of the photographs, the artist is aware of the act of posing and that the presence of the camera conditions behaviour. In this way, the pose is a first construction, and the search for representation of the absence of the artist (through the presence of A.) is the second.
In this sense, project A. is based on a proposal where reality and farce coexist. For this, Jana Leo makes the most of the fine line between private and public, to make visible daily intimacy and making a spectacle of feelings.
Collection artworks included in the exhibition
Museo Reina Sofía Publications
28 February – 1 July 2024
Olga de Soto
Reconstruction of a Danse MacabreProgram: Fisuras
21 February - 24 June 2024
The Practice of Art
1 December 2023 – 10 March 2024
Ulla von Brandenburg
29 November 2023 - 11 March 2024
15 November 2023 - 4 March 2024
The Turning Point
23 February – 7 June 2024
What They Saw
Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999Library and Documentation Centre