The relationship between Ana Jotta (Lisbon, 1946) and Serralves is a long one. In 2005, the Serralves Villa hosted the exhibition Rua Ana Jotta [Ana Jotta Street] that consisted of a numerous, polymorphous selection of works complemented by the presentation of Mirmidão da Tragédia [Myrmidon of Tragedy] at the Chapel. At the time, nine of the elements that make up this piece were acquired for the Serralves Collection; the only plaster element was kept by the artist, and the remaining one by a private collector. Seventeen years after the first and only presentation of this work, we have once again brought together the eleven masks of Mirmidão da Tragédia.
Ana Jotta is the author of an eclectic and heterogenous oeuvre marked by an attitude of freedom strongly linked to everyday life through objects, texts, ideas and, in this case, music that the author gathers and collects. The artist has a particular taste for the decorative arts, classically classified as ‘minor arts’, often bringing them into the artwork. The Greek masks in Mirmidão da Tragédia can be seen as a reference to the decorative masks from disparate origins that can still be found in many homes. However, like the title itself, they are above all a reference to Classic Antiquity and particularly to Greek tragedy, which dealt with fundamental human questions; Myrmidons were the Thessalonian soldiers who accompanied Achilles in the Trojan War; the name comes from the Greek word for ‘ant’: myrmex.