Valeska Soares is a Brazilian artist who has lived and worked in New York for much of her adult life. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Santa Ursula in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; a Post-Graduate Specialization in the History of Art and Architecture from Pontificia Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro; and a MFA from Pratt Institute in New York. As a conceptual artist making sculptures and installations that respond to the spaces they occupy, Soares, as explained in her biography for Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, addresses “the often complex relationship between how we perceive, experience, and record time, and how this plays out in our collective and individual memory.” With her work having been included in the 2008 São Paulo Bienal, Soares shows extensively in South America, Central America, the United States and Europe. Paragraphs, a solo exhibition of works focusing on texts by Italo Calvino and Roland Barthes opened spring 2012 at Galpão Fortes Vilaca. She is also represented by Eleven Rivington gallery in New York. With work included in substantial collections such as the CAC in Malaga, Spain; the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; the MAM in Rio de Janeiro, the Solomon Guggenheim in New York, and the Tate Modern in London, Valeska Soares’ poetic take on a Minimalist aesthetic is broadly recognized and appreciated across cultures.
Love Stories II
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.”