“The fear is not of falling but the knowledge that you want to fall” —Lisa Yuskavage

The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art presents Vanity, a site-specific installation by Brazilian artist Valeska Soares. The exhibition opens Thursday, April 9th and continues through Sunday, May 9th at the Lutz Tire Warehouse, No. 2 located on NW Thurman between 15th and 16th. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m. with a suggested donation of $3.00.

The influences of both architecture and performance are evident in Valeska Soares’ work. Utilizing a variety of media, she explores contrasting ideas of space – interior and exterior; virtual and conceptual. Luring viewers to enter into into her work, both physically and psychologically, she invites them to become active participants in the process. During the month of March, Soares was in residence with PICA to design and fabricate the installation. Utilizing the professional talents of more than 30 local artists and volunteers, she constructed a 20 x 20 ft. structure inside a dark, empty warehouse. The illuminated structure contains a springy, flesh-colored foam floor surrounded by brightly lit, pristine white walls. Along the bottom of each wall is a continuous row of mirrors which create multiple reflections of the viewers feet. An elongated image of a woman’s lower body and legs is visible through the “back door” of the installation, suspended in a pool of light. An “afterthought guide,” written by the artist, accompanies the exhibition.

Valeska Soares was born in Belo Horozonte, Brazil. She practiced architecture in the her home country then attended Pratt Institute in New York, where she now lives and works. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996 and her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throuhout the United States, Europe and Brazil, including the XXII International Biennial of S‹o Paulo (1994) and the inaugural exhibition at Site Santa Fe (1995).

Selected Bibliography

Catalogues and Folders

Aguilar, Nelson, “Ruptura com o Suporte” (catalogue), XXII Bienal Internacional de São Paulo, São Paulo, 1994.

Amaral, Aracy, “Espelhos e Sombras” (group exhibition catalogue), Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, 1994.

Bousso, Daniela, “Polaridades e Perspectivas” (group exhibition catalogue),Paço das Artes, São Paulo, 1992.

Canongia, Ligia, (solo exhibition folder), Centro Cultural Sérgio Porto, Rio de Janeiro, 1991.

Chiarellia, Tadeu, “A Fotografia em Exposição” (group exhibition catalogue), Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, 1994.

Ferguson, Bruce and Vincent Varga, “Longing and Belonging, from the Faraway Nearby” (group exhibition catalogue), Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM, 1995.

Herkenhoff, Paulo, (catalogue), XXII Bienal Internacional de São Paulo,Galeria Camargo Vila ça, São Paulo, 1994.

Lagnado, Lisette, “A Presença do Ready-Made nos anos 80″ (group exhibition catalogue), MAC, São Paulo, 1993.

Marino, Melanie, “Erptcponise: (Dis)articulating Different Visualities”(group exhibition catalogue), Information Gallery, New York, 1994.

Merewether, Charles, “Into the void” (solo exhibition catalogue), GaleriaCamargo Vila ça, São Paulo, 1994.

Merewether, Charles, “The Afterlife of Objects” (group exhibition catalogue), International Critic’s Choice, Mitchell Museum, Cedarhurst, IL, 1993.

Pedrosa, Adriano, “Opposites (and all that is in between them)” (solo exhibition catalogue), Information Gallery, New York, 1994.

Sichel, Berta, “Argentina, Brazil and Colombia” (group exhibition folder),Sidney Mishkin Gallery, New York, 1993.


Aguilar, Nelson, “Bienal dos Recortes”, Vogue (review), Spring, 1995.

Amor, Monica, “Contemporary Art from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia”,Artnexus, no. 55, Summer, 1993.

Bensley, Lis, “Site Santa Fe, A Guide to the Sites”, The New Mexican, July9, 1995.

Camnitzer, Luis, “Bienal de la Habana”, Venezuelan periodical, 1992.

Cavalcanti, Lauro, “Sinal dos Tempos”, Au (review), June-July, 1988.

Chattopadhyay, Collette, “Longing and Belonging: An Interview with Bruce Ferguson”, Asia-Pacific Sculpture News, Fall, 1995.

Chiarelli, Tadeu, “The Contaminated Gaze, Other Photographs”, Poliester,no. 8, 1994.

Doctors, Marcio, “Valeska Soares”, O Globo, August, 1981.

Fortes, Marcia, “Valeska Soares”, Galeria Camargo Vila ça, Artnexus, Spring, 1994.

Iriarte, Maria Elvira, “XXII Bienal Internacional de São Paulo”, Artnexus,Winter, 1995.

Isaza, Patricia, “International Latin America in Brief”, Flash Art, June, 1994.

Lagnado, Lisette, “Temática Amorosa”, Folha de São Paulo, April, 1991.

Mesquita, Ivo Mesquita, Interview in Poliester, Winter, 1993.

Moraes, Angélica de, “O melhor da Arte Universitária”, O Estado de SãoPaulo, September, 1992.

Moraes, Angélica de, “Um encontro de Gerações”, Jornal da Tarde, September, 1992.

Pedrosa, Adriano, “Longing and Belonging: From the Faraway Nearby”, Frieze, 1995.

Roberts, Liisa, “Expatriate Art, How Brazilian is it?”, Poliester, no. 8, 1994.

Schwabsky, Barry, “Art from Brazil in New York”, Artforum, Summer, 1995

Teixeira de Barros, Stella, “Centro Cultural São Paulo”, Galeria (review),Spring, 1994.

Afterthought Guide


sink (singk), 1. to displace part of the volume of a supporting substance or object and become totally or partially submerged or enveloped; fall or descend into or below the surface or to the bottom. 2. to fall, drop, or descend gradually to a lower level. 3. to settle gradually as a heavy structure. 4. to fall or collapse slowly from weakness, fatigue, distress, etc. 5. to slope downward, dip. 6. to go down toward or below the horizon. 7. to penetrate, permeate, or seep (usually followed by in or into). 8. to become engulfed or absorbed in or gradually to enter a state. 9. to be or become deeply absorbed or involved in a mood or mental state. 10. to pass or fall into some lower state, as of fortune, estimation, etc.; degenerate. 11. to decline or deteriorate in quality or worth. 12. to fail in physical strength or health. 13. to decrease in amount, extent, intensity, etc. 14. to become lower in volume, tone, or pitch. 15. to enter or permeate the mind; become known or understood. 16. to become concave, become hollow. 17. to cause to penetrate. 18. to bring to utter ruin or collapse. 19. to suppress; ignore; omit. 20. to invest in the hope of making a profit or gaining some other return.


reflection (ri flek shen), n. 1. the act of reflecting or the state of being reflected. 2. an image; representation; counterpart. 3. a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration. 4. an unfavorable remark or observation. 5. the casting of some imputation or reproach. 6. Physics, Optics. a. the return of light, heat, sound etc., after striking a surface. b. something so reflected, as heat or esp. light. 7. Math. a. (in a plane) the replacement of each point on one side of a line by the point symmetrically placed on the other side of a line. b. (in space) the replacement of each point on one side of a plane by the symmetric point on the other side of the plane. 8. Anat. the bending or folding back of a part upon itself.


fragment (n. frag ment; v. frag ment, -ment, frag-ment), n. 1. a part broken off or detached. 2. an isolated, unfinished, or incomplete part. 3. an odd piece, bit, or scrap. –v.i. 4. to collapse or break into fragments; disintegrate. –v.t. 5. to break into pieces. 6. to divide into fragments; disunify. fragmentation –def. 2. the disintegration, collapse, or breakdown of norms of thought, behavior, or social relationship.


vanish (van ish), v.i. 1. to disappear from sight, esp. quickly; become invisible. 2. to go away, esp. furtively or mysteriously; disappear by quick departure. 3. to disappear by ceasing to exist; come to an end. 4. zero. –v.t. 5. to cause to disappear. See vanishing point. 1. a point of disappearance, cessation, or extinction. 2. (in the study of perspective in art) that point toward which receding parallel lines appear to converge. [1790-1800]

The work inhabits a landscape of ambivalence which is rendered in terms of oppositions, but it refuses to exist only there. Rather than being imprisoned, what it seeks is to act from there, proposing an ever shifting erotic dimension where power is still a condition, yes, but one that does not reside in one or [an]other position (seducer/seduced, oppressor/oppressed, male/female, attraction/repulse, belief/disbelief, expressible/inexpressible and so on), what it aims instead is an unsettled condition where the origin of power lays in the very nature of the erotic shift, a kind of vertigo. -Valeska Soares


Valeska Soares’ residency and exhibition were made possible by grants from the Lorene Sails Higgins Charitable Trust and the Lannan Foundation. PICA’s residency program is sponsored in part by a grant from The Collins Foundation.

Additional support has been provided by Al Solheim, Doug Campbell, RIGGA, Miller Paint Company, Howard and Manya Shapiro, Rod Pulliam, and Miriam Rose.

PICA thanks the following individuals without whom this exhibition would not have been possible: Paul Arensmeyer, Valentina Barroso, Bill Boese, Brian Borello, Eric Chesebro, Nan Curtis, Brian & Jane Elliot, Mary Kay Guth, Sarah Hall, Ted Helprin, Marty Houston, Malia Jensen, Jorg Jacoby, John Kashiwabara, Monica Lundy, Joe McRitchie, Rob Mozzarella, Peter Nylen, Brad Rogers, Susan Seubert, Chris Warr-King, Verna Wells, and Lynda Wysong.

Web page design by Jessica Cook (see archive.org for partially archived copy).

With special thanks to Erin Boberg.

This exhibition was curated by Kristy Edmunds.

PICA Staff:
Kristy Edmunds, Executive Director/Curator
Kathy Budas, Director of Marketing & Outreach
Jennifer Jacobs, Director of Development
Emily Palmer, Development Associate
Erin Boberg, Programs Coordinator