Rafael Soldi is a Peruvian-born, Seattle-based artist and curator. He holds a BFA in Photography & Curatorial Studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work has been exhibited internationally at the Frye Art Museum, American University Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography, ClampArt, Greg Kucera Gallery, G. Gibson Gallery, Connersmith, PCNW, and Vértice Galería, among others. Rafael is a 2012 Magenta Foundation Award Winner, and recipient of the 2014 Puffin Foundation grant, 2015 Portable Works Cultural Perspectives Purchase Grant, 2016 smART Ventures grant, 2016 Jini Dellaccio GAP grant, 2017 CityArtist Projects Grant, and a 2017 4Culture Arts Projects Grant. He has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, PICTURE BERLIN, and Oxbow Space.
His work is in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, and the King County Public Art Collection. He has been published in PDN, Dwell, Hello Mr, Metropolis, GRAY, LUXE,and Lagom. His work has been reviewed in The Seattle Times, The Boston Globe, and PDN. Rafael is the co-founder of FOUND, a space for contemporary art in Seattle, and the Strange Fire Collective, a project dedicated to highlighting work made by women, people of color, and queer and trans artists.
Life Stand Still Here
Over the last decade, my practice has focused on the visceral qualities that drive emotional and transcendental experiences in my life. A search to define my identity as a queer Latino man has been a driving force in my work. Life Stand Still Here explores internal dialogues and moments when life and its darkest facets can offer monumental symbolism. Inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf, I am interested in the elusive abstract space within us that defines the core of our psyche. Many people accept the idea that each of us has a certain resolute innerness— a core of selfhood that we can’t share with others because it is so private, internalized and visceral. I’m drawn to this ambiguous, sometimes painful inner darkness, not the kind that is perverse, but the kind that feels unknown and is, by default, frightening. Through a variety of image-making techniques, viewers can find an entry point into my deepest self. My interest is in opening the interplay between their histories and mine, a kind of dark mirroring that makes visible our shared psychic struggles.
A cornerstone of this body of work is a large, 22-ft long installation titled Imagined Futures, comprised of 50 seemingly identical self-portraits. This work addresses a timeless concern that is universal to all immigrants. How do we grieve the life we left behind in order to live this one? What do we do with these haunting visions and questions about the lives we left behind? For the last 18 months, I have used photo booths to capture the loss of imagined futures, bidding each farewell in a private ritual. Each passport-sized photograph invites an intimate viewing experience, which blurs as one steps away to reflect on the larger grid.
To view more of Rafael Soldi’s work please visit his website.