Valeska Soares
Brazil, 1957
Valeska Soares graduated from Santa Úrsula University in Río de Janeiro in 1987 with a degree in Architecture, and completed a specialisation in Art History three years later. In 1991 she moved to New York, where she now spends most of her time. Soares’ training in architecture and the influence of the contemporary Brazilian art tradition have played an important role in shaping her output: the way she freely combines performance with the legacy of experiences in other media is a notable feature of her work. Her installations and sculptures often invite the viewer to participate in a multisensory experience in which touch and smell are as important as the contemplation of the work itself. She uses a range of materials and techniques to achieve this effect, from beeswax, perfume, and flowers, to glass, velvet, metal, photographs, and texts printed on glass or mirrors. Untitled (1995) is a perfect example of her modus operandi. The artist’s memory and personality are frequently reflected in her work. This personal dimension creates a distorted and evocative vision of facts and events that pose a challenge for the viewer, who is called on to examine the work with a critical eye. Soares regards this process of assessment as extremely important. According to the artist, her work offers up clues that activate thinking in a specific context. The fact that many different readings are possible means that the viewer must interpret them in a personal, individual way. Her installations are like metaphors constructed in space, in which she seeks to blend her own dreams with the viewer’s, within a broad arena that encompasses material, desire, sensations, and feelings. The breaching of artistic boundaries and the rupturing of imposed limits are recurrent themes in her work: reflection and distortion, what appears to be but is not, and the deception of one’s own gaze with the complicity of the other senses. Her aim is to turn the terrain of art into a field of illusion, a place of seduction where we can be deceived because that is what we desire. For Valeska Soares, desire and its pathologies are the source of creative inspiration.
Virginia Torrente