Galeria Fortes VIlaça is pleased to present After, an exhibition of new works by Valeska Soares. While inspiring manifold interpretations from viewers, the nine works on show make reference to three core themes: time, history of art, and manifestations of love.
The works Love Stories, For To, and La Dédicace evince a distinguishing feature in the artist’s oeuvre: its relation with literature, memory and subjectivity. Love Stories is an ongoing editorial project that involves a collection of books whose titles contain the word “love”. On the book spines, Soares has reproduced the original titles (in five different languages) and the names of their respective authors, leaving the inside pages blank. This set of books – of which 125 comprise the present exhibition – ends up constituting a metatext about love. Love Stories is also an open work that invites viewers to create their own love plots.
For To is a collage created directly on the wall with hundreds of pages torn from old, second-hand books purchased in Brazil as well as abroad, and that the artist slightly superimposes. The page she removes from each book is the author’s dedication page, the “soul of the book”, which reveals from downright declarations of love to the most curious and formal tributes. The definition of dedication described in an essay published in Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments provides the starting point for the work La Dédicace. In this piece, the artist literally deconstructs the philosopher’s discourse. All letter and punctuation digits from the essay La Dédicace are reproduced in white pottery, and finally piled up on the floor. The work consists of an anagram formed by more than 8,000 pieces that lend sculptural form to text meaning. This work integrates a series in which the artist “rewrites” her own literature, either by physically “publishing” the writings, or by cataloguing bibliographies.
Twelve similar photographs of the sky printed on canvas constitute the work After Images. These photographs that the artist shot from her own backyard in Brooklyn, NY, convey the idea of the sublime and the passage of the time and make direct reference to romantic 18th-century paintings. Equally laden with references taken from the history of art, four marble sculptures – three pillows and a single-size mattress – feature carefully carved folds and creases, thereby alluding to a person’s recent presence.
Soares resorts to symbolical elements to create subjectivity mazes that spectators go through and, in so doing, discover and create fictional plots. The artist has been residing in New York since 1992; she has shown in the biennials of Istanbul and Taipei (2006), as well as in the 51st Venice Biennale (2005). Her works integrate collections of important museums that include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington, D.C., and Tate Modern, in London.