Text by: Alejandro León Cannock
A first look at the plastic production of Sotielés shows us a young artist who has inherited American abstract expressionism, a tradition to which she confesses to feel very close. Sotielés is therefore part of a rebellious side of art history, on the contrary, the dominant lineage has defended the logic of representation (mimesis), that is, the idea that art should be a copy of the outside world. Abstract expressionism opposes the hegemony of figuration to liberate the creation from its dependence on realism. With this it seeks to emancipate the image from its subordination to instrumental functions such as documentation, narration, illustration or symbolisation; to make the powers inherent in each artistic medium independently; and to liberate the forces of the artist´s inner life. In this sense, the works produced under the sign of abstract expressionism, as happens with Sotielés; pictorial work, what prevails is not the relation of representation ¨image-world¨; but rather the relation of expression ¨artist-image¨.
The plastic production that Sotielés has been developing is therefore positioned in this aesthetic field. However, this appreciation that responds to the formal categories of art history is reductionist if we don´t take into account the motivations from which his artistic practice emerges. Thus, Sotielés work cannot be defined as the simple application of a pictorial styler inherited from the modernism of painters such as Rothko or Pollock. On the contrary, in order to access the profound meaning of her work, at least in this first stage of her career, it´s necessary to understand the intimate relationship that exists for her between artistic creation and personal transformation.
In this sense, for Sotielés the artistic experience has an unavoidable existential purpose. For the Peruvian artist, the creative process not only aims at the production of a work capable of transmitting to it´s spectators a significant aesthetic experience; in addition, it constitutes a movement of personal transformation that aims at modifying her way of perceiving, feeling and thinking the world she inhabits. In this way, Sotielés found creation moves by the need to free itself from the codes (social, family, ideological) that had produced it´s identity in a certain way and that, at the same time, had repressed in the depths of it´s being other possibilities of existence. The desire to become another, shows an authentic thirst for freedom and an eagerness to be the architect of her own future. Art would be, and this is what Sotielés has very much in mind, an appropriate means to achieve that conversion of itself. Her conception of art can then be places under the ideal that mobilized many of the artists of the twentieth century: to put art at the service of life.
If we take into account this transforming aspect of creation, Sotielés; formal option becomes more than a stylistic resource. Abstraction, as absence of form and figure, allows the production of completely potential pictorial space, that is to say, a space of representation that, by not representing anything specific, however paradoxical it may be, by not designating or meaning anything concrete, then opens the doors to the possible, to the free play of imagination, to the emancipation of perception. It seems to me that this choice for abstraction represents, at this point Sotielés artistic evolution, a coherent commitment to a creation that does not impose anything on her or the spectators, but gives them the greatest possible margin of openness. Likewise, abstraction allows for pure and wild expression. No filters. It´s a kind of cry, because it´s not subject to canons, laws or rules. Nothing that imposes a form in her voice; she uses her plastic materials as a means to liberate expression, without necessarily entailing an ¨expressed¨; What is it´s content then? The expression itself. What´s her work about? The very fact of expressing oneself, of putting out what one has inside, but without giving it a specific form. On the contrary, rather with the intention of de-forming it, of de-constructing it, of undoing it.
This search for a free expression of codifications becomes even more understandable if we think of the ¨way of life¨, to say it with the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, from which Sotielés comes: marketing and advertising. In this professional universe, creativity, contrary to what happens in art, is strongly linked to utilitarian purposes, generally oriented to the sale of a product or service in the market. Sotielés used, for a long time, her creative powers at the service of such purposes. However, for some time now she has been making a great drift that has not only taken her geographically to the other side of the world (from Peru to Australia), but also spiritually to the other side of herself. There, at that extreme, she has found in abstract art a way to freely express the powers and possibilities of her being that were repressed by the image of herself that she had learned to show. When we come across experiences like Sotielés, we understand how close life and art are, and the importance of art in transforming the first.