Sol Calero, El barco de barro (The Clay Ship) (2020). Installation view at Copenhagen Contemporary. Photo: David Stjernholm
El barco de barro (The Clay Ship)
If we travel for a longer period of time, we become acutely aware of our place of origin and aspects of our own particular culture. In the encounter with strangers, we are confronted, as is our home country, with the perception of strangers and the paraphrases, generalisations, and misunderstandings that may arise when a particular culture and its narratives are interpreted by outsiders.
This is the kind of journey that the Venezuelan artist Sol Calero invites us to take when her brilliantly coloured Caribbean universe entitled El barco de barro (The Clay Ship) unfolds at full throttle in Copenhagen Contemporary’s (CC’s) halls. Here, Calero creates a living community with pavilions, plastic chairs, and organically shaped furniture emblematic of a perception of Latin America. The exhibition is structured as a large clay workshop where questions about identity, immigration, and cultural encounters emerge while visitors move round the installation. By working creatively with clay, Sol Calero invites visitors to help create the exhibition and pass on their own stories. The exhibition will gradually take shape and visitors’ creations will finally fill shelves and surface areas everywhere in El barco de barro.
Art as a shortcut to understanding
An encounter with Sol Calero’s exhibition is an encounter with art, but also with ourselves and other people. Meeting people offers new pictures and perspectives on the world, which may change our perception, not just of other cultures, but of our own, too. When did you last meet a person who offered you a new perspective on the world? These are the questions and ideas which Calero raises with us, very apt in these corona times and pinpointing just how different people and nations really are.
Narratives in clay
In the exhibition, visitors will experience the transformative process of clay. From its wet and malleable stage until heat turns it into stoneware and, finally, how it undergoes chemical processes in the large kiln. Visitors are invited to continue adding to the narratives of other people, thus shaping and developing El barco de barro together. With this clay ship, Sol Calero helps CC’s visitors to set sail and share their own stories and cultural heritage.
Sol Calero, El barco de barro (The Clay Ship) is supported by Nordea Fonden.
The clay workshop in Sol Calero’s exhibition have been developed in collaboration with Cerama.
About Sol Calero
Sol Calero (b.1982) was born is Caracas, Venezuela, and now lives and works in Berlin. She has a bachelor in visual art from the Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, and a master in design from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
Calero expresses herself in a variety of media, including painting and sculpture, found objects, textiles, video, sound, and site-specific installations. She frequently builds installations reminiscent of functional spaces. Among her earlier works are a school, a spa, and she has, on several occasions, explored the cultural codes of Latin American hairdresser shops, places exerting an important social function as a place for exchanging secrets and trading black market commodities.
Sol Calero has shown internationally and, most recently, at Tate Liverpool, the Brücke Museum, Berlin, ACCA The Australian Center of Contemporary Arts, Melbourne, Galerie Crèvecœur, Paris, Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin, Kunsthaus Bregenz, and Studio Voltaire, London.
With her husband, the artist Christopher Kline, Sol Calero runs the project space Kinderhook & Caracas in Berlin where they curate shows featuring other artists. Furthermore, she is one of the five artists behind CONGLOMERATE, a video art project in the form of a TV channel.