During the 1960s, Ana Jotta studied at the Escola Superior de Belas-Artes in Lisbon and at the École d’Architecture et d’Arts Visuels de l’Abbaye de la Cambre, in Brussels. In the following decade she worked in theatre and cinema, both as an actress and as a set designer. It was not until the 1980s that Jotta began to dedicate herself exclusively to the visual arts, quickly standing out in the Portuguese art scene.
Throughout the last five decades, Ana Jotta has been building a very singular body of work which has granted her an increasingly international attention. Paradoxically, part of that singularity comes from her complete disregard for some of the most widespread “rules” of artistic practice. Ana Jotta has no intent on establishing a coherent, recognizable style, nor does her work circumscribe itself to one single media. In fact, she has paid as much attention to painting as she has done to sculpture; she has delved into drawing and experimented with etching, and knitting has sometimes graced her studio as well.
However diverse and equally important, none of these activities has had so much attention from the artist as that which focuses on what we usually call the “found object”. As the name states, these are objects –things of the most diverse nature–, which the artist comes across in her day-to-day life and whose qualities –formal, symbolic, conceptual or other– somehow capture her interest in a special way.
As João Fernandes wrote in The House of Ana (2005): “There is a playful principle that Ana Jotta uses in order to destabilise any type of frontier or limit between art and life. «If it is possible to appropriate everything as art, then we should do so». Freed of grandiloquent manifestos or attitudes, but rather through the subversion of small daily gestures, Jotta’s work is a constant irreverence towards certainties and routines.”
Ana Jotta has received international awards such as Rosa Schapire Art Prize, Freunde der Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; Grande Prémio EDP, Portugal (2013); or Prémio AICA (2015).
Her work has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (Rua Ana Jotta, 2005); Culturgest Lisbon, Portugal (A conclusão da precedente, 2014); and Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac, France (Ti Re Li Re, 2016). Her recent solo exhibitions also include S/he is Her/e at Chiado 8, Lisbon, Portugal (2008); Encore en Level One, Paris, France (2014); Décor en Au 8 rue saint bon, Paris, France (2015); or Cassandra at Culturgest Porto, Portugal (2016).
Her works are part of public collections such as Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Lisbon, Portugal; Centro de Arte Moderna – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal; Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento, Lisbon, Portugal; Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Portugal; Fundación ARCO, Madrid, Spain; FRAC, Ile-de-France, Paris, France; FRAC Corse, Corse, France; and FRAC Ile-de-France, France, among others.