Valeska SoaresFainting Couch (Prototype) 2002

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Artwork details

Valeska Soares (born 1957)
Fainting Couch (Prototype)
Date 2002
MediumFibreboard, Perspex, fabric, polyfibre and flowers
Dimensionsobject: 360 x 620 x 2050 mm
Acquisition Purchased with funds provided by the Latin American Acquisitions Committee 2005
Not on display


Valeska Soares’s Fainting Couch, with its geometric shape and highly reflective surface, seems at first to recall 1960s minimalism, in particular works by Robert Morris (born 1931) such as the mirrored cubes of Untitled 1965/71 (Tate T01535). Approaching the work, a grid of evenly spaced holes drilled in the surface of the object becomes apparent, as does a heady aroma that pervades the air around the work. The perfume is that of the Stargazer lily, a highly scented flower. Bunches of these lilies are concealed in drawers inside the couch and replenished as needed while the object is on display.

While the object provides a structure to support a fainting body, the overpowering scent from the lilies mean that the very act of reclining on the couch might itself cause one to become faint. The implied action of lying down to recover, being further overcome by the scent, so needing to lie down, and so on, forms a neat embodiment of the circular narrative that occurs throughout much of Soares’s work… (read more)

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