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.

La puerta, 2018 Installation view. The Theatre is Lying: the inaugural Macfarlane Commissions, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Originally commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, with the support of the Macfarlane Fund, 2018. Courtesy of the artist, Barbara Gross, Munich and Crèvecoeur, Paris. Photo by Andrew Curtis.
La puerta, 2018 Installation view. The Theatre is Lying: the inaugural Macfarlane Commissions, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Originally commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, with the support of the Macfarlane Fund, 2018. Courtesy of the artist, Barbara Gross, Munich and Crèvecoeur, Paris. Photo by Andrew Curtis.
La puerta, 2018 Installation view. The Theatre is Lying: the inaugural Macfarlane Commissions, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Originally commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, with the support of the Macfarlane Fund, 2018. Courtesy of the artist, Barbara Gross, Munich and Crèvecoeur, Paris. Photo by Andrew Curtis.
La puerta, 2018 Installation view. The Theatre is Lying: the inaugural Macfarlane Commissions, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Originally commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, with the support of the Macfarlane Fund, 2018. Courtesy of the artist, Barbara Gross, Munich and Crèvecoeur, Paris. Photo by Andrew Curtis.
La puerta, 2018 Installation view. The Theatre is Lying: the inaugural Macfarlane Commissions, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Originally commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, with the support of the Macfarlane Fund, 2018. Courtesy of the artist, Barbara Gross, Munich and Crèvecoeur, Paris. Photo by Andrew Curtis.