Serving as the artist’s first major museum exhibition in 14 years, MATRIX 176 will feature two site-specific installations by Brazilian conceptual artist Valeska Soares, whose immaculately-realized, poetic environments incorporate found and manmade objects to address subjects including spirituality, desire, ephemerality, time, and literature.
Responding to the modern architecture of the 1934 Avery Memorial and to Pietro Francavilla’s Venus with Nymph and Satyr (1600), which looms over the fountain at the heart of the space, Soares will employ various tables of all styles, sizes, and heights, tightly placed edge to edge, creating a barrier around the pool. Each tabletop will be topped with a thick felt pad, precisely cut to size, in a different solid color—black, white, red, gold, and silver. Others will be covered in glass or mirror to reflect the sculpture and the grand space. Viewed from the upper two balconies, the surfaces of the tables will read like monochromatic shaped canvases. In her installation, Soares will mix abstraction with everyday objects.
Soares’ degree in architecture and acute interest in design and sense of space will inform the second of her installations. Framing the pure architecture of the Avery Memorial, Soares will build a new architectural feature within the gallery in the form of a labyrinthine sculpture zig-zagging through the space. The “walls” of the sculpture will be constructed of 13 wood headboards dating from the 1900s to the 1970s hinged together to disrupt the typical navigation of the space. The unique headboard forms suggest not just bedframes, but confining fences, prison cell bars, even cemetery headstones. Ominous, but also beautiful and poetic, the distinctive patterns of the old, worn, decorative headboards also conjure ideas about history and associations with the bed―a place of love, death, sleep, dreams, memories, and the lives of owners long passed.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.