Solano has been making work across different media for many years, but their practice transformed completely in 2014 when they lost their eyesight due to a HIV-related illness. Since this time, they have reimagined their practice and built up an extraordinary body of work across different media including painting, sculpture and film, often using their own memories of the visual world as a foundation to step off from.
In their painting work, Solano often works with a team of studio assistants to create tactile mapping techniques which allows them to apply layers of acrylic directly onto canvas with their fingertips. It is through these collaborative and careful processes that Solano crafts the images that they wish to portray in their practice. The resulting artworks are arresting depictions of themselves, loved ones, musicians, actors and celebrities, as well as architectural exteriors, domestic interiors and still lives.
Much of their work recalls and celebrates childhood and adolescent moments impacted by formative influences like family, friendships, cinema, television and pop music.
This exhibition offered audiences a glimpse into different bodies of work that Solano has developed since 2014, focusing in a broad sense on an expanded idea of portraiture as a form of artistic expression that has driven the artist’s practice to date and continues to inform much of their newest work.
About the artist
Manuel Solano (b.1987, Mexico City) completed their BFA at La Esmeralda, the National School of Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking, Mexico City, in 2012. Solano’s work appeared in the 2018 Triennial: Songs for Sabotage, New Museum, New York, and the group exhibition El Chivo: Expiatorio: Sida + Violencia + Acción, Museo de la Ciudad de México. Their work has also been included in solo and group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2021); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019), the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2019); the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Oregon (2017); and Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (2016).
With thanks to William S Philips Fund for their support.
Listen to an audio version of the Exhibition Notes for Manuel Solano: The Top of Each Ripple here.