Susana Solano (Barcelona, 1946) is one of the protagonists of the new Spanish sculpture who gained international acclaim during the late eighties and early nineties together with names like Juan Muñoz, Cristina Iglesias and Jaume Plensa. The coherence and interest in her work began to be appreciated after her exhibition at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona in 1980, an exhibition that marks the beginning of a career that leads her to participate during the Eighties in artistic events on the world stage, such as the Documenta in Kassel or the São Paulo and Venice Biennial. In 1988 she was awarded the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas and four years later the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibits her work at the Palacio de Velázquez.
For this exhibition at the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, Solano exhibits for the first time a set of nine sculptures in iron and wicker. These pieces are the result of work done on the Portuguese island of Madeira in collaboration with indigenous wicker artisans. Under their rotund shape and harmony of lines the common denominator found in them is the concept of reception, being mostly sculptures that have bowl or container shapes. Despite having the potential to be containers in other ways (with other shapes), the pieces are empty, drawing focus on the hollow space that breathes through the wicker. The metal structure holds the braided fabric and gives strength to the elementary forms of geometric root that the artist has chosen for this work.
In her many travels through Africa and Asia, Solano has been introduced to obsolete procedures and production modes that are only present in small regions. Therefore, in these works there is also an ecological reflection on the progressive extinction of craft production against industry. Similarly, these trips are sources of endless inspiration for the artist that have allowed her to get closer to those essential truths common to all human beings on which she creates her sculptures. In this way, the pieces: Shama II (2001), Oro IV (2001), Oro VI (2001), Salgados I (2001-2002), Salgados II (2001-2002), Salgados III (2001-2002), Bura I (2002), Oromo III (2002) and Oromo IV (2002); come into spiritual contact with the space in which they are exposed. The industrial look of some of Solano’s productions in this series gives way to more humanised forms, while preserving the purity of contours and impeccable finish which makes Solano one of the most important representatives of Spanish post-minimalist sculpture.
With this exhibition, the Reina Sofía Museum continues to expand the list of renowned Spanish artists known to exhibit at the Abbey, which include names that are fundamental to twentieth-century Spanish art such as Antoni Tápies, José María Sicilia, Joan Miró, José Manuel Broto, Esteban Vicente, Miquel Barceló, and now Susana Solano.