Witch Stones
Cecilia Soldano

18.12.19 13.03.20

Fundación´ace invited Mariana Rodríguez Iglesias (Argentina)as guest curator to propose an exhibition project for the Transversal Space. Mariana chose to curate a solo show by Cecilia Soldano, Argentinian artist living and working in Buenos Aires, for which she wrote the following text:

To make the void paint

Thirty radios unite in the center;

Thanks to the hole we can use the wheel.

The clay is modeled into the form of a vessel.

Thanks to the hole the cup can be used.

Thus, the wealth comes from what exists,

But the valuable comes from what does not.

Taoist proverb.

What will the tao have to do with Celtic witchcraft? Surely very little, except for the place in which they overlap briefly: The issue of emptiness. There is a special interest in the Celtic tradition for certain stones that must be found by chance –  they must never be a gift and much less be purchased – and that can be recognized as magical due to the fact that they carry a hole through which one can see from one side to the other. These can be called in many ways, although the artist – of Scottish origin – chooses, amongst all those names, that of “Witch Stones”.

A tock of this category owes its identity to the hole made by the water and to the time of its extense complicity. It is a “Witch Stone” thanks to the cavity inside. Here lies the link with Taoist philosophy: the importance that this worldview gives to to the organization fostered by, and around, vacant spaces, which are never “nothing” but the evocation of a relationship. The areas that were not painted and the blank spaces in a Chinese print work as illusions of volume. The misty and diffuse areas of an oriental landscape are visual strategies that evoke much more than they can represent on the surface.

The power of these type of gaps is that they put into play a relationship and where there was absence a new sense can now be metaphorized. Or what would happen to our witch stones without its hole? Without it they would no longer be what they are: amulets, elements for magic, time portals and space. It is a dynamic conception of emptiness, of seeing “for the other”. As it happens with our own identities: that impossibility to know who we are even though we try to sketch a provisional approach from our own edges, spoken words, gestures and actions. This repertoire of what we do in this world is a representation, a trace, of who we are in it. And as a trace, an absence.

What Cecilia found in the witch stones inspired her to work the pictorial matter with a twist seeking to incorporate whoever looks at her art pieces within them and – as the uncertainty principle points out – gets the observer to modify what is being observed. The artist had been working on two lines sustained in her painting: one that echoed small details, passing lights, bland but interesting corners from a pictorial perspective; the other – which she never abandoned and will become the substrate of its plastic praxis – is that of pure abstraction and without reference, autonomous to find meaning in itself. In this series, the plastic language composes the scenery, the actors and the script of a scene that can only happen in the painting. The need to incorporate the spectators, as well as space into her work led her to investigate the materials. In that way, she found a ludic space of investigation in the iridescent pigments and the refractory surfaces (such as aluminum and other metals) that, by reflecting the light and the colors of who is observing the work, get to make them enter the scene itself.

We can stand in front of the polyptych of witch stones on metallic paper or closely observe some of the linens subtly attacked by Cecilia Soldano’s painting. While doing it we have nothing left but to see each other. It is not that we see our own image with clear and delimited borders, in any case, we intuit our presence by the reflection of a color that we are wearing or the projection of our body as a gloom. We see from “the other”. It is the painting, the shadow and trace, with whom we enter into a relationship to recognize ourselves and, if our sensibility allows us, to curiously peer at the artist’s way of telling (herself) the story.

Mariana Rodríguez Iglesias, curator.

Related artists

Cecilia Soldano
1977, Buenos Aires. Argentina.

2015 | BA in Visual Arts. UNA, Argentina.
2002 | National Painting Professor. Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón, Argentina.


2019| Espacio Corner, curated by Carlos Carpaxo, Madrid Spain; Pop UP cwith RED NARA, Frankfurt, Germany. 2018| PEZÓN, curated by Sergio Bazán, Panal 361, Bs As, Argentina.
El fragmento que ocupa, curated by Mariana Rodríguez Iglesias and Jorgelina Dacil Infer. Dacil. Urbana, Vicente López, Argentina.
2016| Situación V, site-specific installation, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2014| Grieta, con el colectivo Furor, Panal 361, Buenos Aires, Argentina.; TMPRL, group exhibition of Furor; Se alquila Estado, simultaneous group exhibition Madrid-Buenos Aires-Guatemala, Panal 361, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Imágenes de la memoria, Espacio Cultural de la Biblioteca del Congreso, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2015 | Colmada, Pintura e Instalación, Espacio MOEBIUS, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2019| Salón de Mayo del Museo Rosa Galisteo; 2018| Salón Nacional Premio BANCOR; Museo de Artes Plásticas Eduardo Sívori; Salón Nacional de Tucumán; 2015| Museo Timoteo Navarro; Cuerpo inferior, Videoinstalación, Salón Nacional de Rosario, Museo Castagnino; Sobre la ruina, Cuerpo Inferior, Intervención y Video Instalación, La Verdi; Salón Manuel Belgrano Pintura Seleccionada en el Salón Nacional, Museo Sívori

2011-2012 | EPAC, Espacio de Proyectos Audiovisuales Contemporáneos, Galería Arte x Arte. Bs As, Argentina.

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