Solange Pessoa (b. 1961, Ferros, Brazil) hails from the state of Minas Gerais, the land of Baroque and Rococo, soapstone mines, vast celestial nightscapes, and reserved temperaments—elements inextricable from her philosophical practice. The concepts of time, intuition, and primordial memory guide her artistic output—the creatures of her Botânica and Animais paintings recall those of prehistoric cave paintings; her Mimesmas sculptures conjure mollusk fossils or ancient tools of stone. Her art privileges the organic—she mines the primal realms of the psyche by means of hair, dry leaves, leather, oil, fat, wax, animal blood, minerals, powder, pigment, plants, roots, moss, seeds, and eggs.
Pessoa’s work stands out for its density and abundance, the sensation of organic compounds flush with the pulsations of life, or, subdued in the calm of death. The artist’s animate forms break with the geometric shapes so studied and revered by her generation in Brazil. Instead, Pessoa is immersed in a primordial aesthetic and practice accessed through obsessive stone carving and shaping, and symbolic, monochrome depictions related to the human, plant, and animal kingdoms. Her works are presented as recollections, pre-linguistic marks that denote meaning and presence. Her work exists in a singular and subversive realm of contemporary art, speaking both to universality and strangeness.
A comprehensive monograph on Pessoa’s work was published in 2020, edited by art historians Alex Bacon and Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and featuring scholarship by Fajardo-Hill, Chus Martinez, Liz Munsell, and Eduardo Jorge.
Solange Pessoa lives and works in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Selected solo exhibitions include Longilonge, Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX (2019); Metaflor-Metaflora, Museu Mineiro, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2013); Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2008); Museu da Inconfidência, Ouro Preto, Brazil (2000); Palácio das Artes, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (1995); and Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (1992). Pessoa received a grant from the Pollock Krasner Foundation (1996–1997), and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Brazil and abroad including The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani, 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2022); Invenção de Origem, Estação Pinacoteca, São Paulo, Brazil (2018); La Fin de Babylone – Mich Wunder, dass ich so Frohlich, Koln Skulptur # 9, Cologne, Germany (2017); A Kingdom of Hours, Gasworks, London (2016); New Shamans (2016), High Anxiety (2016), No Man’s Land (2015), Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; Arte e Patrimônio, Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2014); Mostra do Redescobrimento, CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France (2001); Heranças Contemporãneas, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de São Paulo, Brazil (1999); and Encontros e Tendências, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de São Paulo, Brazil (1993). Pessoa’s work is permanently displayed at the Garden of the Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil and the Capela Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, Santa Bárbara, Brazil.