Susanna Solano

Galería Senda/Galería Oliva Arauna

Recently, Susana Solano mounted two solo exhibitions, one in Barcelona and another in Madrid, that ran concurrenlty. In Barcelona, at the Galeria Senda, Solano placed a single piece in each room. The verticality of one iron piece was deliberately countered by the horizontality of the other. As part of the show in Barcelona, Meditaciones n. 10 (Meditations n. 10, 1993)—a closed catwalk set on wooden balls—was installed in an old shed. This circular pathway contrasted with the angular geometry of the structure in which it was placed. This installation, and her En busca de un paisaje (In search of a landscape, 1994), at the Galeria Oliva Arauna in Madrid, had an architectural quality that derived from the similarities suggested by the materials she uses. Three large panels framed in iron, whose surfaces were also of a screenlike iron, were fixed to the wall-like side doors that couldn’t be opened, and served to highlight the empty space of the gallery. In conjunction with this piece, she also exhibited some very subtle collages, showing her process of construction in something as immaterial as a sketch and a colored pencil, with a support as fragile as paper.

The simultaneity of these two exhibitions allowed the viewer to see the differences in her work and the possibilities that can be extrapolated from them. The two large pieces described were powerful, but neither occupied the space in a violent way. From the beginning, Solano has understood her work as a process that governs the efforts directed toward a single end, regardless of the tools and materials used. In spite of their diversity, these pieces evinced a will to formal inquiry that characterizes her entire production.

The 20 photographs that she presented in Barcelona under the title “Sense” comprise a series shot at the bottom of a swimming pool at an outdoor spa that has also been the subject of previous works. With a camera wrapped in a plastic bag and some lead weights to prevent flotation, Solano conceived of a project that was unprecedented in her oeuvre. From the bottom of the swimming pool, she photographed mostly headless, old bodies, floating in the water. For Solano, these bodies, because of their age, were evocative of experience and memory. For her, photography is a means of capturing the instant, the spontaneous, the smallest particle of time that in sculpture is fixed by the material itself. Although they may appear to be contradictory, Solano sees the possibilities offered her by photography and sculpture as complementary. This photographic series in black and white is proof of this and of the diversity of her artistic investigation.

Menene Gras Balaguer

Translated from the Spanish by Vincent T. Martin.