Manuel Solano by Claudia Lozano. Courtesy of the artist and Peres Projects, Berlin.
Manuel Solano, The hottie from Starbucks, 2019. Photo by Matthias Kolb. Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin.
Manuel Solano’s paintings are pulsating figurative scenes that picture slices of pop culture, vivid portraits, and homey environments where the artist grew up. Looking at them, you wouldn’t know that Solano went blind at age 26. Losing their sight didn’t stop the artist from continuing to paint. Now, some five years later, their work has earned them institutional shows and gallery representation: in 2018 Solano was included in the New Museum Triennial and had a solo show at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; they are represented by tastemaking Berlin gallery Peres Projects. The artist is currently included in a show at the Palais de Tokyo, and will soon open a solo exhibition at the esteemed São Paulo nonprofit, Pivô.
Manuel Solano, Untitled, from the series “An Interior, A Sensation, An Instant,” 2019. Photo by Trevor Good. Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin.
Manuel Solano, Nicki, 2018. Photo by Matthias Kolb. Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin.
To create their paintings, Solano has honed a unique painting process, using their photographic memory to translate images from past experiences onto canvas. With the help of an assistant, the artist develops their compositions through verbal directions; then, with a system of pins and pipe cleaners, Solano paints with their fingers.
ICA Miami artistic director Alex Gartenfeld said of Solano: “Whether it’s through an ambitious approach to painting or a radical use of video, their work across mediums is as deeply personal as it is constantly evolving. For their powerful take on identity and memory, Manuel represents a new voice in art and creativity.”