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What words to name

GALERIE ALEX SERRA, Cologne, Germany, 2021

Text: Wilko Austermann

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View of the solo exhibition What words to name at Galerie Alex Serra, Cologne, Germany 
Photo: Rainer Holz © Galerie Alex Serra
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Born I (2021), Paraffin, impactgroundsocket, 104 x 30 x 15 cm
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Born II (2021), Paraffin, impactgroundsocket, 105 x 30 x 29 cm
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Blumen I (2021), Paraffin, 124,5 x 41 x 126 cm
Photo: Rainer Holz © Galerie Alex Serra
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My nameless words II (2021), Paraffin, 191 x 12 x 8 cm
Photo: Rainer Holz © Galerie Alex Serra
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I can still see you (2021), Paraffin, wood, (2021), Paraffin, wood, 75 x 31 x 20,5 cm
Photo: Rainer Holz © Galerie Alex Serra
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Blumen II (2021), Paraffin, 222 x 42 x 76 cm
View of the solo exhibition What words to name at Galerie Alex Serra, Cologne, Germany 
Photo: Rainer Holz © Galerie Alex Serra
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Glimpse (2021), Paraffin, 121 x 21 x 126 cm
View of the solo exhibition What words to name at Galerie Alex Serra, Cologne, Germany 
Photo: Rainer Holz © Galerie Alex Serra
Throat (2021), Paraffin, 121 x 21 x 126 cm
2 elements with 46, 5 x 3 x 49,5 cm

Carolina Serrano - What words to name

Alex Serra Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Germany of the artist Carolina Serrano (born 1994 in Funchal, Portugal). In her works, the sculptress creates abstract, geometric forms that seek a relationship with human beings. 
At first glance, the wax sculptures, appear like abstract signs. A closer look reveals a physical reference. Vertical forms strive upward, ending with round shapes reminiscent of a head. "The sculptures reflect who we are" says Carolina Serrano about her works. The artist thus refers to the human in the objects. Carolina Serrano creates beings that embody humanity on an abstract physical level. The theme of time and its influence and meaning on human beings plays an important role. Through time we experience loss and pain. Time limits and shapes processes. The temporal aspect is rooted in the choice of material of her sculptures. Black colored paraffin unfolds on the geometric surfaces. The surface texture of the wax is not monochrome, smooth. Organic, flowing streaks open up, made visible by the light. The soft, physical structure of the paraffin here contrasts with the strict, geometric form. The artist uses basic geometric shapes (circle, triangle, square) from which she creates the condensed plastic forms.
Within this exhibition she connects two thematic fields in the two gallery rooms. In the first room she displays, self-contained forms. The artworks are turned in on themselves in an inward focus. In contrast, the artist presents open sculptures in the second gallery space. This selection focuses on contrary states that represent a form of communication and emotion. Carolina Serrano is interested in duality, opposites within sculpture. She takes up these in form and content in her artistic practice. The two spaces differ within the inner structure of the works. The external form and the black coloration are related. Her sculptures are always black, illustrating a colorful neutrality and an increased refraction of light on the surface. They unfold vertically in space within the group. Spacious forms condense dynamically within the positioning of the works. They correspond with each other in form and content and define the surrounding space.
The sculptress provides for her art pieces narrative, poetic titles that bridge to the figure. "Flowers," "Born," and "Throat" open this physical level of interpretation to the viewer. The sculpture "I made a promise in eternity" is reminiscent of a winged altar in form. It consists of a long, central plate made of wax, flanked on both sides by two smaller surfaces. In the center, a fine vertical line breaks up the surface, seeking contact with the viewer. The sculpture opens up expansively, drawing the eye into the inner core of the work through the purposeful markings. "Bowl to receive" presents an open form on the floor of the gallery, visualizing the theme of openness and receiving. The open space, that is, the complete lack of barriers and elements, which might suggest the higher side of the human being, yet it is fragile, small, and is placed on the ground. “Throat” is displaying the opposite. This antagonism is perhaps the suggestion that the higher side and the lower side cannot exist without each other. The sculpture is attached to the ceiling of the gallery and represents the closed form. The title refers to a fragment of the body, which is clarified abstractly by its presentation in the space.

Carolina Serrano displays in the exhibition "What words to name" new paraffin sculptures exhibited within two thematic areas, the inner and outer form. The artist creates a dialogue of plastic forms that visualize an interplay between abstraction and physicality. Complexly interwoven aesthetic forms unfold in space and seek dialogue with the human.


Wilko Austermann

November 2021

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