Salome Cuesta

By Brea, Jose Luis | Artforum International, March 1993 | Go to article overview

Salome Cuesta


Brea, Jose Luis, Artforum International


Salome Cuesta's strategy is one of representational suspension. Her installations present us with mute, almost empty spaces, barely punctuated by a series of elements with so little material presence and objective character that it becomes difficult for us to categorize them as sculpture. In fact, the elements that make up the vocabulary of her research, and which we somehow recognize as the "works," are really nothing but mechanisms that work with light--the true, although volatile, inapprehensible, material element of her work.

Somewhat in the tradition of James Turrell's '80s series, "Dark Pieces," Cuesta constructs laboratories in order to experiment with light--to examine its incidence in the space of conscience and perception. Thus, her installations seek to confront the viewer with what could be termed the limits of naked vision. In some way, what the spectator is invited to see in Cuesta's installations is the actual "act" of vision, of contemplation. In general terms, these installations can be understood as metaphoric mirrors of the viewer in the act of observing.

Until now, that objective of reflection on the act of vision had led her to produce radiant installations infused with a clear, luminous, full, and neutral light. In her recent installation, however, her strategy had been inverted--here she worked with exact beams of light, manipulated in a dim environment. The gallery for this exhibition was converted into a sort of camera obscura, penetrated by only one ray of light which was subjected to diverse games of reflection and modulation through different lenses. Because of the darkened gallery, not only the final focus projected onto a wall but the light ray's entire path through the vacant interior of the space was visible. …

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