Susana Solano

1946 (Barcelona), lives and works in Barcelona

From 1974 to 1980 she studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Barcelona, where she also taught from 1981 to 1987. For the artist, geographical and historical identity acts as a depository from which to draw artistic imagination and forms a key criterion in Susana Solano’s work.

Following small bronze objects, at the end of the 1980s she presented large welded sculptures formed from iron sheet. Since 1987 she has made works with a distinctly architectural character, some akin to furniture, consisting of iron frames, pipes, grates and sheet steel. In these works, that resemble cabins or cages, Solano explores the physical and psychological effect of space. The transparency of the grates and rods creates a flowing transition between materiality and immateriality, between enclosure and openness. The choice of material alone links her to the tradition of modern iron sculpture, as established by Gonzales.

Unlike other contemporary artists such as David Smith and Anthony Caro – whose works were also seminally influenced by Gonzales – Susana Solano is not interested in the simple linear basic form derived from the plane as the basis of sculptural designs, but rather primarily in three-dimensional volumes. What remains is her affinity to the plane as a space-bounding and space-incorporating sculptural category. Her works visualise the ambivalent function of the volume-forming boundaries or skin of the sculpture. She represents this double meaning and renders it transparent. The organic appearance of the forms counteracts a geometricising effect and opens up a field of spiritual associations. This gives rise to a pictorial quality that includes aspects of architecture and landscape, at the same time recreating a ritual objectivity of archaic or mediaeval derivation.

In 1987 she featured at the “documenta” in Kassel and was also present at the Biennale in São Paolo the same year. In 1992 she participated in the “documenta” once again, and her works were on show at the Venice Biennale in 1988 and 1993.