LA PUERTA Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne 15 December 2018 – 24 March 2019
Reflecting her experience growing up in Venezuela and Spain as part of a Latin diaspora, Sol Calero’s paintings and installations reference the complex social and political histories that inform constructions of Latin identity and aesthetics. Trained as a painter – a medium devoted to creating the illusion of depth within a at surface – Calero’s work has expanded to embrace the idea of painting as spatial installation, in the creation of three-dimensional staged sets and mise en scène.
Calero’s La puerta is an architectural threshold centred around a highly decorated proscenium arch, a reference to the archways of Spanish colonial architecture that commonly appear in Latin American patios and buildings. The passage from a monochrome environment to one bursting with colour references the historical translation of black and white reproductions of Baroque European paintings by indigenous Latin American artists into their own art-historical genre. As writer Sira Pizà Airas has noted, ‘Calero uses this binary structure in reference to the underlying duality inherent in processes of translation – from black and white to colour, from a model to a reproduction, from the original to the copy, from the self to the other, from empire to colony’.
Ideas of perspective, illusion and trompe l’oeil are central to Calero’s method, along with a high-key chromatic scale and motifs reminiscent of tropicalia, referencing the fusion of European and Latin positions, as much as the stereotypes and clichés inherent in the (mis)representation of Latin identity.