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Teresa Solar

In conversation with
Daphne Bakker

As part of the exhibition: BIG MOUTH. WITHIN BOUNDARIES. OOZING OUT
This took place before the opening on 12/11/2021

The artists invited to realize a project at 1646 are asked to engage in conversation with a correspondent via email or DM, be it someone previously unknown to them or whom they’re already familiar with.

This conversation spans the period before an exhibition is completed. 1646 invites the correspondent at the other end of this exchange to ask questions so they may be guided through the artist’s decision-making process and how their initial ideas develop toward completion. It provides insight into the artist’s body of work and is intended to paint a picture of the otherwise untraceable choices that constitute the artist’s practice.

Sat, Nov 13, 8:24 AM
From: Daphne Bakker

Dear Teresa,
I feel at a disadvantage in approaching you. For some time now I’ve struggled with the way I engage with art. Specifically it bothers me that I mostly encounter art through the screen. This diminishes how I experience the artwork when I finally do get to see it in person.
Looking up your work online, I felt I was doing you a disservice. I wish I could naively stumble upon one of your sculptures, without precon-ceived notions. Sometimes my thoughts turn more radical, and I wish we could do away with museums and galleries. I’d like to roam freely through spaces with no prescribed functions, or perhaps spaces devoted to the daily rituals of life, and be stopped in my tracks by something either beautiful, or odd and puzzling.
Perhaps this ambivalence says more about my thoughts on how we use space, but is this something you recognize as well?

Best,
Daphne

 


 

Mon, Nov 22, 10:43 AM
From: Teresa Solar

Dear Daphne,
First of all let me apologize for answering with such a delay, I have had a crazy week finishing works for the show in 1646, I share with you these doubts regarding art spaces, I as well enjoy very much these encounters with daily life spaces that encapsulate so much meaning. I remember one winter night a year ago stumbling upon 4 men with their heads stuck inside an old and ruined ice cream kiosk and thinking it was the most remarkable image I had seen in months. The ice cream kiosk with trousers and shoes coming out of it answers for the most exceptional part of life, just as an absurd and joyful poetry.
In any case, even if I love being a flaneur and I always miss walking around in search of random sparkling encounters, I am a true believer of art spaces and their capacities to be bridges of something exceptional, in this case staged in highly artificial environments. I believe in the encounters in art institutions with things that are truly foreigner and completely useless outside them being these foreign objects. I remember quite a few times leaving a museum after watching a show and asking ‘but why? but why? but why?’, and that question resonated in my head for days. In this sense I understand that what art spaces enable in their highly artificial environments is the display of a precise syntaxis: they not only allow the encounter with exceptional objects but they enable these objects to become coordinated sentences that write speechless speeches.

Best,
T

 


 

Thu, Dec 2, 1:10 PM
From: Daphne Bakker

Dear Teresa,
No need to apologize! I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into setting up a show. Does it get easier with time, or is there always a sense of urgency with each new show?
Reading your explanation of your appreciation of art institutions, I realized that you also have a different relationship to these spaces. As an artist you get to engage with them more intimately. You spend more time in them, but you also have agency within the gallery.
I wonder if you’ve been to 1646 before and whether you get to decide where your sculpture is placed, the height of the framed sketch.
Or is it a collaboration with the gallery? If I’m honest with myself, the artificial environments actually don’t affect me, but the things presented within them do. One only notices the space, when the artworks fail to captivate. I felt this most strongly during my first trip to a museum after the initial lockdown. It was in Voorlinden in Wassenaar. There was something about the whole process of wearing the mask, the antibacterial hand cream, and the awareness of being in a highly commercial art space of a wealthy private collector. It heightened my unease, and hardly anything I saw could snap me out of it.
Has any recent show managed to captivate you?

Best,
Daphne

 


 

Fri, Dec 3, 10:51 AM
From: Teresa Solar

Hello Daphne,
I guess things get easier with time, I have tried to learn not to second guess myself all the time so I can let myself work in peace.
I have been working with the 1646 curatorial team for quite some time; we’ve had several conversations where our show has been little by little designed and crafted. In that sense our collaboration is an enriching one: they have let me create the show I wanted while adding interesting thoughts and details to the core ideas of the show. In this installation I have taken a global approach towards my practice and I have been able to intervene in the space also to let it be an actor of the show. I understand my practice as the creation of ecosystems of thought where families of sister elements coexist. Following this idea of ecosystem or environment, I am interested in the interplay between small and big elements, that
can be contrasted, that can add meaning to one another. In this sense, through the modification of color and shape, the second room works as a close-up picture of the sculpture placed in the first room.
In the first room we find a small sculpture that belongs to my first ceramic series where I was interested in the exploration of the limits and barriers created by the potter’s wheel and also the voids created through the creation of these limits. In this sense the second room works as a close-up picture that would allow us to enter this void, as if we could enter inside the tunnels left in the center of the clay. Clay is always a metaphor of Earth’s mantle – of course clay is one of the primeval elements of the ground we walk on everyday – so entering this small clay tunnel is like entering through an Earth’s pore where geology, engineering and psychology blend together to tell a story of the underground.

 


 

Mon, Dec 6, 1:21 PM
From: Daphne Bakker

Hello Teresa,

You mention that you’ve taken a global approach to your practice, and there will be a sculpture from your first series, and another sculpture will function as a response to it. Am I right to assume that the exhibition has some elements of a mini retrospective? In case the answer is yes, is this different from your previous exhibitions?
I can imagine that you have reached a point in your career as an artist when you can start engaging with your past creations and ideas. An ecosystem of your own oeuvre. But based on what I’ve read, you always seem to be evolving. From video installations, to ceramic sculptures. And now from engaging with the body, to spatial considerations – the underground. What triggers your desire to work with different media/material and themes? Is it through the work within your atelier, the daily grind and ritual of being an artist, or through input from outside, be it the things you read or experiences?

Best,
Daphne

 


 

Wed, Dec 8, 10:08 AM
From: Teresa Solar

Hello Daphne!

Thank you for your email :-)
Is this a retrospective? I think this specific piece is still new enough to not enter the realm of retrospective… It belongs to a network of thoughts and ideas that are active and inform my practice every day. In any case I really like to create shows with works that are not brand new. When a little bit of time passes, thoughts and works are distilled from a more general noise that happens when a work is completely new; that allows more precision when tackling a response to it, when crafting an environment that starts in this specific element.
It is true that ways, processes and shapes change but I feel that I am always talking about the same things. I feel – at least with the clay works – that it all belongs to the same network of thoughts; even the videos share the same core ideas. For example the idea of limit or frontier has been present in every video and almost every sculpture I have done. I don’t feel that I have ever worked with thoughts that were distant from each other.. I feel it has more to do with observing a dark cave: you point with a flashlight to different parts of the space and observe the different materiality and anatomy that is being discovered by light while the rest remains in the shadows but always present. The knowledge that observes me behind my back is still present even if it is not in focus at that precise moment.
In any case, yes, the work within the atelier has turned extremely important. When I was younger I always worked through a theoretical structure that framed the work strongly. It gave motives to the works, reasons to live and to defend it as something worth existing. With the years I have lost a bit the fear of not making sense while I talk, of making without knowing what or why, and allow the practice to be more free, to go its way. In that sense in the atelier I try to create structures or frameworks where clay can also have its own agency. That is what I love about working with clay: it lets me establish a collaboration with it, I don’t need to be so imposing with the shape but let it also surprise me and make me feel like a foreigner in my own land.

 


 

Wed, Dec 8, 5:26 PM
From: Daphne Bakker

Hello Teresa,

I get the sense that you’re very deliberate – taking your time to reflect on what you’re creating. Does this mean you also take time away from your work and your atelier? Do you have periods of intense focus followed by spells of rest and introspection? Or are you in a sense always occupied with your art? What does a show at a gallery represent within your process – is it a moment of reflection on your methods and materials?
Apologies for all the questions, it is a way for me to understand your work by not relying too much on previous interviews or texts. Since you always work with the same themes and questions, do you feel you recognize the descriptions of your work in these past profiles?
Is there a benefit to having an outsider describe your art?
Thank you for taking the time to share with me. I’m looking forward to seeing your work in person, finally!

Best,
Daphne

 


 

Dec 10, 2021, 10:45 AM
From: Teresa Solar

Hi Daphne!

Sorry but we have run out of time to answer these questions, any way, would love to chat on Saturday :-))

Very best,
T

Info

About

Teresa Solar (b. 1985) studied Fine Arts at Universidad Complutense of Madrid. Some of her most prominent solo shows include “Ride, ride, ride” in Matadero Madrid (2018) and Index Foundation in Stockholm (2019) and “Flotation Line” at DER TANK, Institut Kunst Basel, Switzerland (2018). She has also created solo exhibits in galleries such as “Time of worms” at Joan Prats Gallery, Barcelona (2021), “Forms of Fleeing” Travesía Cuatro Gallery, Madrid (2020) and “Pumping Station” in Travesía Cuatro CDMX Gallery in Mexico City (2019).

Solar’s work has recently been shown at the Liverpool Biennial 2021 curated by Manuela Moscoso, at the VII international Biennial of Young Art of Moscow (2020) and at the Köln Skulptur Park #9 curated by Chus Martinez  (2017-2020).  She is currently a finalist of the Future Generation Prize 2021-2022 at Pinchuk Foundation in Kiev. Teresa Solar lives and works in Madrid, Spain

About the correspondent: Daphne Bakker is an editor for international platform Failed Architecture and co-curator of ‘Stories on Earth’, one of the parallel projects of the Venice Biennale 2020. Her work explores past, present and future ways of inhabiting the landscape, specifically focusing on themes of resource extraction, displacement, traumatic heritages, and (personal) archives. At this moment Daphne is in the early stages of two research projects based in Suriname and Indonesia. The former will look at the ancestral land of the Saramaccan Maroon community, which was submerged to realize a hydroelectric dam for the bauxite mining industry. She will collaborate with artist Miguel Peres Dos Santos and curator Vincent van Velsen on the exhibition for Het Nieuwe Instituut, set to open in 2023. For the latter project, alongside René Boer from Failed Architecture and with the support of the Research Center for Material Culture (RCMC), Daphne will aid the Jakarta-based artist collective Ruangrupa in a project on land reclamation, its colonial roots and its impact on the contemporary Indonesian landscape.

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