Anna Solal

Le Bréviaire
June 2–July 22, 2023

MAMOTH is pleased to announce Le Bréviaire, Paris-based artist Anna Solal's first solo exhibition in London and with the gallery, on view from 2 June - 22 July, 2023.


Take care with your expressions whether they may be indexes of economy or the esoteric language of flowers; both yield a disarticulation between technologies of the self and the nature of mankind. If you must, do as Edmond Jabès might, consider the assemblage a high form of articulation, one capable of extent without ceding the novel or the particular. Material is shorn of a world made tangible through lossy fictions so it is no wonder that artwork, in its psychotic re-composition of meta-text, may be caught mimicking our information age. In this world of ultra-light exchange velocity, a nomadic thought searches for a place to rest.

What differentiates a procession from mass migration, if the group politics shouldered in each are maimed by frustrated hopes and a lawless sense of necessity? Strewn footprints enmeshed with lands portioned out to arbitrary borders or render a path towards the tireless horizon of a videogame. For what it’s worth, CAPTCHAs may appeal to adjacent questions, their challenge-response makes plea for an assertion of authentic humanity; can you read a random sequence of ripple letters? Can you tell apart an ordinary ass from Robert Bresson’s woeful donkey? They who second-guess what it means to be human need only distinguish the trials of organic life from its self-parody as AI.

Dare we still speak of an individual as glyph or numeric value, made sensible through the tyranny of statistical representation? This arms-length means of evaluating the wretchedness of our present operates as if breaking a personal situation down to its constituent parts makes for any marked improvement. So there is recourse to an ancient structuring device such as the breviary, with its offer of respite, else the metaphor of solace. But the same may be said for users who, in dumbfound zombification, leave drawings by oily thumb on their phone screens, hungry eyes fastened to the woes of other people. We are forgiven our schadenfreude in a bid to grasp at the tattered edges of survival, we assure ourselves that tragedy or calamity alike will eventually come to pass. 

You wade into the fray: slews of fragmented or bite-sized notifications that make parity of the eruption of war and a like from your teenage crush. Interruptive pings! resound news stories flattened, compressed and trafficked, so that we are forever delivered new happenings, a violence of dislocation unfolding in time. The slave to the attention economy wakes up one day knowing that it is maybe only art that can introduce a short-circuit. They wake up again, a generational succession: when a flower dies another will spring up in its place, and in that moment of briefer beauty we are simply happy to be survived, for it staves off a moulting dispassion. 

There are no answers that are not also troubled substitutions. In spite of the logic of systems that propagate moments of absenteeism, it is the flower that fights feverishly for life and makes romantic the crime of devotion. Stray but spectacular, bedecking graves and pushing up between gravestones, flowers are a budding collectivism that shrieks life against all odds. Only rampant individualism thrives just as well under the auspices of hyper-networked late capitalism, like blush to a heat-map, or the drift of a scanty piece of detritus, lonely as tumbleweed. 

Dare we still speak of flowers and poetry above the artful glamour of consumer packaging? Because those raised under the influence of mercantile attitudes will never read a gift without the bondage of transaction. You leave a smiling Chupa Chups in hand knowing you were played and, alas, it is Salvador Dali’s scallop-edge designer lollypop that has both estranged and infantilised you. You twirl between your fingers this allegorical ‘pathetic reward’ that is doled out as single flowers are, a cheap trick no worse than love or pretty consolation.  

Text by Elaine ML Tam


Anna Solal (b. 1988, Dreux, France) lives and works in Paris. Since 2022 she has been artist in residence at the Villa Médicis (Rome). Solal has exhibited previously at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), the CAC Passerelle (Brest), the Musée des Abattoirs (Toulouse), and Interstate Projects (New York). Her recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Frémissement’, Château d’Oiron, Oiron (2022); ‘On observation’ , duo solo with Jochen Lempert, Kunstverein Reutlingen (2022); ‘Adresse aux gémonies’, Britta Rettberg Gallery, Munich (2022). ‘Le jardin, la zone’, Edouard-Manet, Gennevilliers (2020); ‘Le jardin’ , CAC Passerelle , Brest (2019); ‘La salle de bain’, FUTURA, Prague (2019); ‘Gaga drawings’, Et al. at NADA Miami, Miami (2018); ‘La Convalescence’, New Galerie, Paris (2018); ‘The Harpist Rover’, Interstate Projects, NY (2017). Recent group exhibitions include: ‘Beaux Arts x Mondes Nouveaux’, Paris (2023); ‘Mystérieux Sentiments’, FRAC MECA, Bordeaux (2023); ‘Raccrocher les wagon’, Galerie Edouard Manet, Edouard Manet (2022); ‘Wet resistance’, Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmunder (2022); ‘Nuit Blanche’, Villa Médicis, Rome (2022); ‘Portrait de femmes’, Musée Albert Marzelles, Marmande (2021); ‘Because the night’, New Galerie, Paris (2021); ‘I feel boîte’, Loggia, Vienne (2021); ‘Prix Mezzanine Sud’, Musée des Abattoirs, Toulouse (2021); ‘(Non)Depleted’, Design Biennal Online (2020); ‘The Transparent Man’, New scenario (2020); ‘OUTSIDE WITHIN’ curated Gergana Todorova, ppcontemporary, Frankfurt-on-Main (2020); ‘YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS’, High art , Paris (2020); ‘Jacques de Bascher’, Treize , Paris (2020); ‘Fun House’ curated by Cristina Ricupero, Parc saint léger, Pougues-les-Eaux (2020); ‘Une table pour 50’, Galerie pcp, Paris (2020); ‘Material Art Fair’, FUTURE gallery, Mexico (2020); ‘Octopus’, Ginny Frederick, London (2020); ‘THE 4 GATE CONNECTION’, Tatjana Pieters, gent (2020).