Monica Miranda

Born 1976 in Porto | Lives and works in London and Lisbon

For Monica de Miranda distances are measured by affection and she works from her own space, the familiar space, the place of her relations, everybody’s space, which is an infinity of lines connecting collective and personal spaces.

Her art lies in making sensitive that which normally remains insensitive in these places. A central feature of Miranda’s work is that it crosses boundaries, forming new alphabets and geographies and a new cartography of affections.

Monica de Miranda was born in Porto, Portugal and is of partly Angolan origin. While tracing herself backwards and being conscious of her African roots, she went forward with art education and art practice in London for many years. Meanwhile, traveling and working in other parts of the world, she developed new affinities with countries like Brazil and India. Now she is doing studies for her doctorate from Middlesex University and mostly based between Lisbon and London. As Guy Brett puts it (Chemistry of London, September 2007) “Monica de Miranda herself epitomizes both the complexity of cultural traces which make up identity and a diverse and flexible art practice.”

Monica’s work reflects how globalization is profoundly transforming our apprehension of the world provoking a new experience of orientation and disorientation and new senses of identity of space. Eva Langret, London based curator says “Monica de Miranda’s art practice is like a journey of contested borders into the terrain of issues of place, identity and belonging…encouraging speculation about the existence of a third space: a hybrid territory developing from trans-national encounters and cross-.border dialogues embedded in the fabric of day to day life.”

Monica got married in 2001, at the Brixton Registry office in London. Artist and partner and family and friends were all filmed in full clown regalia as a real life performance and participatory art project. The video of this happening titled “Remain to stay…for all ever/ A clowns wedding” comments ironically on the visa systems and immigration laws affecting intercultural relationships.

Is “Wonders of the World”, four color photos onto light boxes in which the clowns are depicted all over the globe with iconic places and monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Tower Bridge, serving as a backdrop to their joyful and jocund imaginary ‘honeymoon’. Paul Goodwin based at Goldsmiths University and Tate London, says “in these works some of the rough edges of multicultural urbanism are smoothed out by enticing the viewer into a virtual dreamscape of interracial relationships, love and play that appear to transcend the mundane and often aggressive realities of urban living in many of the world’ great cities. The figure of the clown as urban flaneur, globe trotting mongrel and purveyor par excellence of a ‘spread love’ philosophy seems a fitting harbinger of a new metropolitan cosmopolitanism”.

“States” (6 screen printed flags), is another piece that disrupts hegemonic images of nationalism. The flags reflect the pomp and ceremony of national flags as markers of identity. On all of them are images of the artist and her partner dressed as clowns kissing, thus softening the hard surface of nationalism with a playful and absurd dimension.

Yara is Monica’s baby girl and she is a symbol of a land beyond frontiers. Her image is in the 3 large screen-printed flags in Monica’s new oeuvre titled “I am white. I am grey, I am black” which talks about multiplicity of identity and the space where black and white meet in genuine dialogue beyond certainties and fixed assumptions, beyond good and bad.

The meeting of civilizations

J.A.Fernandes Dias, a specialist in post colonial art issues, wrote in Lisbon about Monica’s works”We do not know what will be our civilization when it really finds other civilizations by means other than the shock of conquest and domination. We must admit that this meeting has not yet been held in the form of a genuine dialogue. So we are in a kind of interval in which we no more believe in the dogmatism of a single truth, and still we are not able to overcome the skepticism that we had fallen into…Works like this can help us understand the situation and hopefully to open the borders…”

Dubai is a meeting point of past and present, of East and West, of Arab and Asian and European cultures. This location is an encounter point of arts and culture, far away from the exotic, ‘orientalist’ misinterpretations of the past.

The flowering of culture took place in history at the meeting point of different civilizations. When Islam met Hindu India with the Mughal and Christian Europe with the Moor Empires the idea of multicultural society, yet rudimentary and distorted, was born. The Renaissance happened when Greek scholars fled to Italy from Constantinople. When artists from Europe lived in and took from distant lands they ushered in new streams of music and art. The cross pollination of cultures took place each time to bring us to what we understand today as ‘enlightened modernism’ where all streams from all lands flow into an ocean of oneness.

Solo exhibitions
2009 “Tuning”, National Theatre, Utrech, Holland
2009 “Just do it” ( curated by Fatima Lambert), Quase galleria, Oporto, Portugal
2009 “Underconstruction” (Curated by Paul Goodwin,
Supported my Ministry of Culture) Pav. 28, Lisbon, Portugal
2008 “Euro caravan”, INIva, London, England
2008 “New geographies” (Touring exhibition), Plataforma Revólver, Lisbon,
Portugal; e ImagineIC, Amsterdam, Holland.
2008 “Tunning A1”, Voyeur project, Lisbon, Portugal
2007 “New Geographies”, 198 Gallery, London, UK
2004 “In Between Lines”, Artery Space, London, UK
2004 “Black sheep: do not pull my hair”, Studio News Parade, London, UK
2003 “Routes”, The Red Gate Gallery, London, UK
2002 “Laundry”, Area 10 , London, UK
2001 “Remain to stay - A clowns wedding”, Brixton Register Office, London, UK
2000 “Land scapes”, Technics Gallery, London, UK
Diasporas Selected Group Exhibitions
2010 “She is devil”, Studio Stefania Miscetti,
Roma, Italia
2010 “Teresias-videos de artists made in Portugal”,
Centro cultural de Espana, Montevideo ,Urugai
2010 “Whose map is it?”, Iniva, London, UK
2010 “And then again and again”, Museu da cidade,
2009 “New Territories”, Pav 28, Lisbon ,Portugal
2008 “Mundos Locais” ( exhibition+ Coordination of workshops and seminar about collaborative art
“Allgarve 2008”), Centro Cultural de Lagos,
Lagos, Portugal
2007 “Paradise”, Art toll – Residency/ exhibition, Museum of Modern Art Hertogenbosh – Netherlands
2007 “Do u hear me”, State of the world- Exhibition /sound
installation-Gulbenkian foundation,Lisbon
2007 “United Nations”, Singapore Fringe Festival, Singapore
2007 “dentity and History”, Living Gallery, Italy
2007 “Un-furnished”, File , Rio de Janeiro-Brazil
2006 “Lore and Other Convergences, (in collaboration with
Janini Antonini) INIVA and Live development Agency,
London, UK
2006 “De-colonized Bodies” (Video portraits) The art
Pavilion, in collaboration with Guilhermo Gomez
Penã and la Pocha Nostra, London, UK
2006 “Black sheep “Do not pull my hair”” Conjunction ,
London , Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
2006 “Welcome goodbye Adeus Obrigada”, (Journeys,
dislocations and imaginary nations) The blue
Elephant Gallery, ( supported by Gulbenkian
foundation) London , UK
2006 “Territories”, October Gallery, London, UK ( video art )
2006 “Changing Skins - Rencontres Internationales”,
Rotaratorio, Paris and Berlin
2006 “In the back of our Hands”, Centro Pablo de Cuba,
Havana, Cuba
2006 “Road lines”, Contemporary digital art museum,
Buenos Aires, Argentina
2006 “Un-furnished”, Node.London, London, UK
2006 “European’s Workers Union”, Liverpool Biennale
and London Biennale, Liverpool and London, UK
2005 “Self-portrait at exploding galaxies”,
ICA-Retrospective of David Medalla,
curated by Guy Brett, London, UK