Paris

Anna Solal, Infusion camomille 2018, colored pencil on paper, combs, children’s shoes, massage stick, metal rod, carpet, tulle, steering wheel protector, plastic supermarket box, Plexiglas, 37 x 18 1/8 x 3 1/8".

Anna Solal, Infusion camomille 2018, colored pencil on paper, combs, children’s shoes, massage stick, metal rod, carpet, tulle, steering wheel protector, plastic supermarket box, Plexiglas, 37 x 18 1/8 x 3 1/8".

Anna Solal

New Galerie

Anna Solal, Infusion camomille 2018, colored pencil on paper, combs, children’s shoes, massage stick, metal rod, carpet, tulle, steering wheel protector, plastic supermarket box, Plexiglas, 37 x 18 1/8 x 3 1/8".

La convalescence,” French artist Anna Solal’s first solo show in Paris, featured devotional objects made from dollar-store finds (plastic shoes, kitchen utensils, car-floor mats, combs, neck massagers, and hair clips) and broken electronics (cracked smartphone screens, parts of remote controls and keyboards) salvaged from repair shops. Using tulle and wire to ritualistically bind together these cheap sundries and various forms of electronic waste, Solal creates freestanding sculptures as well as elaborate frames for her drawings. The artist’s aesthetic appreciation for junky products results in appealing, seemingly lighthearted assemblages. Her intention with these works, however, is to help break unhealthy addictions and bad habits. Using traditional religious iconography to describe a widespread modern malaise, Solal’s artworks invoked miracle cures for profligate consumerism and technology overload.

In three colorful still-life drawings framed by rubber steering-wheel protectors (Black Tea with Milk, Infusion sauge [Sage Infusion], and Infusion camomille) (all works 2018), Solal depicted home remedies such as steaming cups of tea, citrus slices, and vitamins. Tethered to the circular frames with fabric and wire, anthropomorphic figures made of found materials—some easily recognizable, others more mysterious—hover like guardian angels on each side of the drawings. The angels flanking Black Tea with Milk, a drawing of milk being poured into a cup, are made of round sequin-studded hair clips and blue rubber shoe soles; splayed-open garlic presses make for elegant wings. In Infusion camomille, the angels are made of combs, children’s shoes, back massagers, and car carpeting and sanctify a white mug of herbal tea. In another trinity of framed drawings (Morning Clouds, Afternoon Clouds, and Night Clouds), Solal visualizes a kind of post-tech afterlife. Ruined personal technology, represented by smashed smartphone screens, frames heavenly colored-pencil skyscapes. Simultaneously beautiful and dangerous, the pocked and fissured frames are decadent foils to the divine imagery they surround. In the corners of each frame, more angels—in this case made from tulle-wrapped pieces of plastic supermarket crates—beckon toward peaceful heavens above.

Solal’s freestanding sculptures also evoked spiritual guardians. The Clock is a cruciform clock, more than six feet tall; eight plastic combs form its face, and two jagged mirror shards make up its hands. At the center of the clock, a small figure wrapped in black tulle looks like a mummy with outstretched arms. This piece was inspired by Saint Lidwina, who was canonized in 1890, more than four hundred years after her death. Having endured years of intense pain caused by an ice-skating accident when she was fifteen, the Dutch mystic is a symbol of selfless suffering. If the mirror clock hands in Solal’s spindly, emaciated figure are a reference to the ice-skate blades, adornments such as remote-control buttons, iPad screens, and keyboard fragments make the effigy resemble a sickly cyborg. If you suffer from such modern-day plagues as “consumeritis” or smartphone addiction, Solal’s totems of ruined technology and dollar-store angels might be just the spirit guides to see you through to recovery.

Mara Hoberman