A text is not a line of words releasing a single “theological” meaning (the “message” of the Author-God) but a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture.
Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author”, 1968
Max Wigram Gallery is delighted to present Notations, featuring works by Brazilian-born, New York based artist Valeska Soares. The exhibition will act as an introduction to Valeska Soares’ practice, a prelude to a solo exhibition set to open in November 2013.
The exhibition references core themes recurrent in Soares’ work: time, subjective memories, and literature. Two groups of works are shown here. On the walls, paintings from the ongoing series Bindings, feature antique book covers arranged in geometric compositions onto unprimed canvas. Across the room, Timeline I connects two adjacent walls with thirty-one book pages strung on copper wire. Printed on each page, a sentence connoting the passage of time. Using text both as material and artistic model, these works deconstruct the structure of the novel, inviting the viewer to reconfigure the pieces into new, subjective narratives.
Subjectivity is a key element in Bindings. Each painting seems to contain an arbitrary collection. The book dust jackets and covers are arranged in a manner reminiscent of a modernist grid. Appearing as an exercise in chromatic and compositional balance, the paintings are imbued with poetic qualities, in a gesture indicative of Soares’ desire to make art that is not self-referential. The covers are not only chosen for their formal qualities, but also for the possible associations they can develop within one painting. The viewer's gaze scans this visual labyrinth of colours and shapes, and texts, arranged in multiple directions, each time developing new and subjective connections and narratives.
Books also constitute the raw material for Timeline I. The deceptively linear arrangement of the pages reveals a non-sequential narrative, in a manner akin to poetry and open to reconfiguration, a reminder that everything is in a state of flux. The aforementioned textual connotations - the inevitability of impermanence - are also embedded in Timeline I on a physical level: each page, ripped from found and discarded books, carries the signs of its own, unique history. Subjective histories and multiple narratives are thus the material that Soares accumulates and reconfigures for her work.
Soares’ accumulation is not a collection: it is text, and each object that she collects is a quotation. Refuting the possibility of a single meaning the artist invites the viewer/reader to perform a creative act and compose new narratives, not to decipher them. It is precisely in this act that the focus and unity of the works reside. As text, Soares’ works become the paragraphs in the multiple narrative branches of her artistic practice.
Valeska Soares (b. 1957, Belo Horizonte, Brazil) lives and works in New York. Soares’ solo exhibitions in public institutions include Follies, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Caprichos, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO), Monterrey; Puro Teatro, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City; Vanishing Point, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; permanent installation at INHOTIM. Recent group exhibitions include Order, Chaos, and the Space Between, Phoenix Art Museum; What to Think, What to Desire, What to Do, Fundació LaCaixa, Barcelona; The Storytellers, Stenersen Museum, Oslo. Soares has participated in the Sharjah Biennial, the Sao Paulo Biennial and the Venice Biennale. Her works is part of important museum collections, including the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington,; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; The Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; Tate Modern, London.