Ana Luiza Rodrigues on Ana Luiza Rodrigues 1st Install – Tea bags, 2017

I have had tea in my life since I was a child, a custom that came from my grandparents and since then I am in love with tea. This nostalgia constantly came to light with the briefing: Duration. Starting from the briefing and an act of total obsession, I began storing the tea bags I was consuming.

All tea bags are the common brand of tea, nothing sophisticated, a popular English brand: PG Tips. After using them, I let them dry in the natural. It surprises me to analyze them later since each one has a different shape and coloration.

The wrinkles produced by the dryness fascinate me and remind me of the wrinkles of human skin in the elderly. The aging in both medium, the used tea bags, and skin of elderly people inspired me to explore the connection between time and raging. Wrinkles are signs of maturity that some people avoid as much as possible, but for me, it is above all a sign of respect and history. I believe that older people who remain with expression marks, rather than using aesthetic products are extremely charming people.

Starting from these two distinct beginnings I decided to create my project: Tea bags. My main focus was to represent what is visceral in people, their wrinkles. Usually, older people drink more tea than younger people. I believe that due to the low body temperature, the tea heats them and, consequently, it comforts them. I saw a parallel between my used tea bags and the wrinkles of the elderly.

Finding the ideal image to represent people’s wrinkles was not an easy task. Usually, photographs avoid the signs of aging. I was elated when I came across the work of Chuck Close: American artist and photographer.

Fanny:Fingerpainting, 1985 by Chuck Close
Fanny/Fingerpainting,1985 by Chuck Close

I have made a reduced appropriation of one of his conceptual portraits: Fanny, 1985 hand-painted since he usually works in large format. As evidence of my fragmented thinking, in my work, I decided to split the portrait of Fanny into four A4. I spread it randomly on the wall. To represent the tea bags that are normally discarded by people after use, I have meticulously arranged them on the floor.

I had a last minute idea, and I decided to add two mugs floating on the ceiling. I thought it would be a great idea to represent the male and female sexes through a poetic license. I was pleased at the ending. It was a process of experimentation that made me reflect a lot on my life experiences and how to express them.

 

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