Peter Soriano


20.9. – 19.10.2019

Opening Thursday 19th of September 2019 18-20h


Snowmelt, 2019, Acryl (Sprühfarbe) und Bleistift
Realisiert mit Hilfe von Nina Rieben
Foto: Marie-Anne Villars
Snowmelt #5, 2019, Bleistift und Tinte auf Papier, 28 x 38 cm
Snowmelt #4, 2019, Bleistift und Tinte auf Papier, 32,5 x 48 cm
Snowmelt #1, 2019, Bleistift, Tinte, Wasserfarbe auf Papier, 32,5 x 48 cm
Snowmelt #8, 2019, Bleistift und Tinte auf Papier, 32,5 x 48 cm
Snowmelt #11, 2019, Bleistift, Tinte, Sprühfarbe auf Papier, 42,5 x 38 cm
Snowmelt #9, 2019, Tinte auf Papier, 32,5 x 42 cm
Snowmelt #16, 2019, Bleistift, Tinte auf Papier, 38 x 57 cm
Snowmelt #10, 2019, Farbstift auf Japanpapier, 30,5 x 35 cm
Installation view
Foto: Marie-Anne Villars

Born in Manila, Philippines, Peter Soriano earned a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1981 and, later that year, completed a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. 

In the 1990s, following exhibitions in New York and Paris, Soriano had earned international recognition for his deceptively playful, biomorphic sculptures made of fiberglass. In 2004, after a six-month residency at the Atelier Calder in France, the artist started making wall-based sculptures, introducing taut steel cables and metal pipes to his work. With the addition of spray paint applied directly to the wall, these installations became increasingly two-dimensional until, in 2012, Soriano eliminated structural elements altogether. His work now consists of large, instruction-based wall drawings composed of acrylic and spray paint, as well as smaller, related drawings on Japanese paper that are pleated and folded until they become almost sculptural. To quote the art critic John Yau, Peter Soriano has become “a sculptor who doesn’t make objects.” 1

Soriano’s wall drawings appear abstract, but typically they are interpretations of quotidian objects or specific landmarks. For recent projects, he has used as a starting point the aluminum wrappers used for Lindt’s “Neapolitan” chocolates, a landscape glimpsed at 15-second intervals from a moving train, shadows cast by the roofline of his house in the state of Maine, and a group of rocks as seen from the window of his studio. These wall drawings are instructional based and are intended to be installed again and again. 

For Snowmelt / Schneewasser, Soriano observed a mound of snow on a terrace in the canton of Graubünden. At intervals, over a period of two weeks, he measured, recorded, and traced the snow pile as it shifted and melted. The resulting drawings both on the wall and on paper, with their overlay of geometrical planes and taut hand-drawn lines, capture Soriano’s view of the receding snow pile. 

Snowmelt / Schneewasser is part of a larger project that Soriano has worked on for the past two years, measuring and recording snow piles in North America and Europe. For him, snow is intimate and evocative. At the same time, our planet’s shrinking snow coverage has come to illustrate the catastrophe of global warming. It is these interwoven, contradictory tensions that Soriano explores in Snowmelt / Schneewasser.

[1]  Surveyor of Shadows, John Yau, Hyperallergic, 22 October 2016