Galeria Fortes Vilaça is pleased to present narcissus, an exhibition with new works by Valeska Soares. The mirror is an important element in the formal vocabulary of this artist, who has a declared interest in fiction and in the notion of imaginary places. The young man who falls in love with his own image, reflected in a mirror of water, has been the theme of countless works in the history of literature, in the visual arts, and also in psychoanalysis. The myth of Narcissus, which some of Soares's earlier works have touched upon, is here treated in a more direct manner, with intelligence and formal innovation.
The three sculptures seem to be mannequins, or dolls dressed in skirts. They appear in different positions, above a "lake," a mirror installed in the gallery's floor. These works are the three-dimensional development of a series of drawings on paper and porcelain that the artist has been making for several years. They are small sketches, in which the human figure appears only in outline. The drawings as well as the sculptures have an immediate character and a pathetic aspect, in between humor and melancholy. The sculptures are made from small moulds that go through a 3D scanner. Their form is then applied, in a much larger dimension, onto foam blocks. This inversion of scales means that the sculpture, of almost human size, keeps the hand's impression, apparent in the original mould. It is as if these dolls were halfway to becoming people.
narcissus is also related to the installation Pure Theater, presented in 2003 in the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City, where Soares created an immense lake of mirrors, placed so that visitors were invited to "walk on water." An opportunity to "participate in a true banquet of narcissism," in the words of Cuahtemoc Medina, the Mexican critic and curator.
This year Valeska Soares participated in the 51st Venice Biennial. Her work recently entered the collection of the Tate Modern, in London.