Valeska Soares’ Love Stories II, as seen in where is the power, is an elegant presentation of 250 books, harmonious in size and palette, sitting on two long, white shelves. With this visually direct but complex and ambitious piece, Soares plays on the power of desire as she takes on the topic of love. Presenting a variety of books, spanning the romantic languages, that each share the word “love” in their title the artist entraps the viewer as she adds a sense of longing to desire by actively filling her beautifully bound books with nothing – emptiness.
Each page of each book is accounted for with page numbers and titles imprinted in the thick paper that fills each uniform book jacket but the content/the story is missing. This void is seemingly a secret from the viewer but is perhaps felt in closely observing each book’s careful construction, their coded display, and the uniformity of the whole as well as the inevitable assumption of loss and forbidden love when considering the classic topic of Love Stories II.
For Frieze magazine, Silas Marti writes of Soares’ similar but smaller, first Love Stories, “If love depends on the impossibility of consuming the object of desire, it’s an exercise doomed to frustration, And Soares provides a wealth of literature in order to digress on the subject…. When the titles are browsed one after another at close range, a lyrical poem begins to compose itself, one that celebrates the buoyancy of love while also speaking to the bitter weight of stories that sometimes end with irreparably damaged hearts.”