Montez Press
Taken back out to the street
August 09, 2017

With greatest pleasure we announce the second Montez Grant recipient Aleen Solari and give a brief insight into her work.

Even if you just entered the exhibition space, with Aleen Solari you get taken back out to the street. This is where her work really happens. Imagine, for example, entering Hamburg’s renowned Kunsthalle to a filmset-like environment: rough concrete benches in front of a backdrop screen, some ceramic vessels strewn idly about, waiting like trash to be picked up from the ground in the park. Color LED string lights—which you might be familiar with from your weed smoking little brother’s room—set the mood. The scene is populated by retired police officers, hanging around like loiterers; killing their time, wasting their time, doing nothing but shuffling through newspapers and chewing on seeds.

Now, imagine another scene: more benches, and silver glazed ceramics on and around them. Large prints of flames lick the surfaces and walls. Vodka, beer bottles, energy drinks. Adolescent boys decorate the environment. They hang out—not altogether differently from the previously mentioned retired police officers. They too do nothing but check their phones or exchange bored glances. A tableau vivant? A three-dimensional Instagram pic? An installation that treats objects and subjects in exactly the same way?

Solari’s work is not about the everyday life. It might, though, be about a painfully drawn- out moment of everyday life, and about those who act as life's invisible extras. A group of balaclava wearing conspirators sit in the installation, their (ceramic) cell phones outside the improvised gathering shelter—a safety precaution. The boyish and confused members of a local football club, the teenager with his bong. But then we have to wonder: is it about them at all, or are they standing in for something else? Solari adds layer after layer to her sculptural installations and gives us an exciting amount of autonomy to read in and between these layers—just like we read, unthinkingly, the codes of subcultures we encounter on the street.