Valeska Soares: Follies
October 30, 2003 to March 14, 2004
CLOSING RECEPTION: Sunday, March 14, 7-9pm
Complementary TRANSPORTATION for reception will depart from :
The Armory Show ( Pier 92 ) at 6:30 pm
RSVP : Kayoko Akabori, Assistant to the Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or 718.681.6000 x131
Conversation: Marysol Nieves and Valeska Soares
Saturday, March 13, 2004 at 3pm
Valeska Soares at The Bronx Museum
Valeska Soares Puro Teatro, 2003 Digital photograph Courtesy the artist and Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo Photograph courtesy the artist
Invitation to Closing Reception
Galeria Fortes Vilaça hosts a cocktail party in honor of Valeska Soares' exhibition at The Bronx Museum of the Arts to be held during the events of The Armory Show in New York. This exhibition-closing event will take place at the Museum Sunday, March 14, between 7 and 9pm. This will be the last opportunity to see this major mid-career survey of Soares' work.
The Press Release
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is pleased to present Valeska Soares: Follies , the first major museum exhibition in the United States of works by this prominent Brazilian-born, New York-based artist. This exhibition consists of installations, sculpture, photography, and video that mix conceptual rigor with a baroque sensibility. Soares' work embraces such seemingly disparate elements as restraint and excess, structure and chaos, and reason and emotion. The exhibition title takes its cue from a recurring motif in her work—the garden folly—which, like her artistic practice, embodies the fragile boundaries between control and desire.
Soares' work may be seen historically within the context of the experimental and conceptual works of the 1960s and 70s by Brazilian artists, including Lygia Clark, Cildo Meireles, and Hélio Oiticica. These artists created works that engaged all of the senses and radically transformed the role of the viewer from passive observer to active participant in the production of meaning. Moreover, Soares shares with her contemporaries, such as Polly Apfelbaum, Leonardo Drew, Felix González-Torres, Mona Hatoum, and Rachel Whiteread, an interest in expanding the critical framework of minimalism. Her work often subverts or parodies the cool, geometric aesthetic of minimalism and disrupts notions of purity and rationality through an assertion of a baroque sensibility. Other works explore the porous limits of the body, the construction of identity, and the links among the personal, social, and public realms.
A number of Soares' sculptures and installations resemble the hard-edge geometric forms of minimalist sculpture, but her work also appeals to multiple senses through her use of aromatic and tactile materials such as beeswax, hair, velvet, flowers, and perfume. For example, Vanishing Point (1998), one of Soares' signature works, is comprised of 15 stainless steel tanks, shaped like the meticulously groomed hedges in the formal gardens of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. Laid out to resemble a maze, each tank is filled with perfumed liquid, its scent is at first pleasurable and then becomes overpowering. Soares is interested in the “faint line between being seduced by something and being completely intoxicated by it.”
The literal and metaphorical quality of mirrors and other reflective surfaces are another important motif in Soares' work. A key work in the exhibition is the installation Detour (2002/2003), a mirrored room that the viewer enters through a revolving door. Once the viewer is inside, the door is closed and becomes a continuous part of the mirrored walls creating the illusion of a space with no exit. An audio track alternates various narrators retelling, from memory, The City and Desire by Italo Calvino, a story of several men who become obsessed with capturing an elusive woman who they see only in their dreams wandering through the streets of the city. Detour examines the limits between reality and illusion—a key theme in Calvino's text and throughout much of Soares' work—which is further heightened in the installation through the illusion created by the mirrored walls.
The exhibition is organized by The Bronx Museum of the Arts and guest curator Marysol Nieves. Valeska Soares: Follies is scheduled to travel to MARCO (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo), Monterrey, Mexico in May 2004.
A fully illustrated catalogue will be co-published in May 2004 by The Bronx Museum of the Arts and MARCO (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo), Monterrey, Mexico. The catalogue will include contributions by Moacir dos Anjos, curator, Museu de Arte Moderna de Recife, Brazil; Douglas Fogle, curator, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Cuauhtémoc Medina, associate curator, Latin American Art, Tate Modern, London; Vik Muniz, artist, New York; Marysol Nieves, guest curator; Adriano Pedrosa, curator, Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte; Tobias Ostrander, curator, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City; and Valeska Soares.
Valeska Soares: Follies is made possible by the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, with additional funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Altria Group, Inc. The forthcoming catalogue is made possible, in part, by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.