Valeska Soares

(Brazil, 1957)

Related Material

For inSITE2000 Brazilian artist Valeska Soares was drawn to work directly with the border fence that divides the United States and Mexico. Soares wanted specifically to find a way for people on either side of the border to be able to come together around a common theme or event and in some way create an exchange, or the illusion of an exchange, across the fence. Her initial proposal was for a garden project that would require a reconfiguration of the fence, yet it proved to be impossible to obtain permission to realize this idea. Soares changed her proposal but remained faithful to her concept of creating an opening in the fence. With Picturing Paradise the artist installed two highly polished large sheets of steel directly onto a section of chain-link fence at Playas de Tijuana, back to back, and as it were, creating the illusion of an opening in the fence, except what was seen was a reflection. Each mirrored surface was inscribed with an excerpt from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, a text that speaks of two cities located next to each other, virtually identical mirror images of each other, but with no love between their residents.

Curators: Susan Buck-Morss, Ivo Mesquita, Osvaldo Sánchez, and Sally Yard
Venues: Border Field State Park, San Diego, and Playas de Tijuana