Solange Pessoa’s mastery of form and material bowls me over. Her work is so much of what I love that I can’t believe I only just encountered it. Pessoa’s visceral, biomorphic sculptures and installations suggest distended human forms, sacs of viscous liquid, stretched hides and primordial organisms. They are pregnant with pathos and uncanniness. In a way, Pessoa seems to combine two of the greatest artists of all time (in my book): the fleeting, process-oriented experimentations of Eva Hesse mixed with Louise Bourgeois’s exquisite use of craft and eye for the semi-abstract, semi-abject body. In this work here, the bulbous forms hang together, jostling and squishing each other as their contents seem ready to burst outward, the line they are draped from stretching precariously under the force of gravity. The objects look like scrotums, breasts, placentas, intestines, and other viscera, and yet there’s also a compelling ordinariness to them, almost comically bland in their beige monochrome and cheap fabric stuffed with god knows what (*update: dirt and sponges*). It is precisely this ability to find the strangeness in the everyday—one of the most important legacies of surrealism—that makes Pessoa so brilliant.
Solange Pessoa, Hammock, 1999-2003