Sol Calero presents an installation featuring her latest body of paintings at Kunsthalle Lissabon. In recent years, Sol Calero has been developing a pictorial language that operates in a similar way as souvenirs do: an idealized representation of a place, concentrating multiple layers of self-projected identity. Cultural traits, traditions, landmarks, historical milestones, are all neutralized and displayed in leisurely forms for consumable purposes. The souvenir is not an object taken out of context, but an object created to encapsulate a context, and disseminate it as an abstracted interpretation. The artist re-creates the context of the painting as a souvenir in her installations, in the same way identities are exported: they are at once self-performative and made up in the eyes of the outsider. In Kunsthalle Lissabon, Calero presents her paintings in original handmade wood-carved Peruvian frames from the region of Cuzco, acquired during her last trip to the country. These literal souvenirs frame a new pictorial direction that adds to her emblematic signature patterns and designs, and moves on to explore the non-represented, the non-iconic. In the amalgam of shades we nd the in-between, multiple, ambiguous, and muddy nature of reality.
Tente en el aire (“hold yourself in midair”) is a direct reference taken from the racial taxonomy established in the colonial period in Latin America, meaning the descendant of a Campulato and a Cambujo, amply illustrated in the “Caste Paintings” of the painting school of Cuzco, in Peru. There the proli c seminaries were responsible for most of the institutionalized artistic production of the Viceroyalty era in all
of South America, used as a tool for native evangelization, resulting in one of the most self-evident and fascinating products of religious and cultural syncretism to this day. In Tente en el aire, Calero’s abstraction of the portrait genre takes the notion of personal representation to the narrative of collective identities and the layered nature of their construct.