Starting often from her biography and family history, Rachelle Mozman Solano explores the ways in which culture shapes individuals and how environment conditions behavior. She works between New York and Panama, the country of her maternal family. Informed by her clinical work in psychoanalysis, Mozman Solano’s art is concerned with the intersection of mythology, history, economics, and the psyche through photographs and films that confound fact and fictional narrative. Through her work, the artist reveals narrative to be both inherent to our humanity and easily influenced by perception.
For her film and photography project Metamorphosis of Failure, Mozman Solano takes as a point of departure the Museum of Modern Art’s 2014 exhibition of Paul Gauguin’s works on paper that he made in the South Pacific toward the end of his life. Mozman Solano was impressed by the mythology perpetuated by the museumography and curation of the exhibition, particularly the narrative about Gauguin’s work based on identity transformation during his immersion in Polynesian culture. Rather than rehashing this account, Mozman Solano instead explores the history of Gauguin’s mixed background (French and Peruvian). The work probes Gauguin’s obsession with racial purity, which she speculates may have stemmed from his multiethnic identity and created a conflicted sense of self. Mozman Solano’s film is based on fantasies of Gauguin’s five-week stay in Panama before his journey to Polynesia. The story satirically examines his search for subjects, “primitive” life, and “pure” racial identity as described in letters to his wife and his book Noa Noa, within a diverse Caribbean topography. In her project, Mozman Solano playfully reimagines the stories of the women who were Gauguin’s muses. She cleverly empowers these women by imagining an alternative narrative that exposes Gauguin’s internal conflict and the desires that he projected onto his subjects.
Mozman Solano grew up in New York to immigrant parents. She is a Fulbright Fellow and has had solo exhibitions at Arteconsult, Panama City, Panama; Voelker Orth Museum, Flushing, NY; The Camera Club of New York; and Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago. Her work has been featured in major group exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; the Americas Society, New York; National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA; the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA; Instituto Cultural Itau, São Paulo, Brazil; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile; Centro Cultural de España, Mexico City, Mexico, and IX Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador. She has participated in residencies at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace, Smack Mellon, The Camera Club of New York, and Light Work. Mozman Solano earned an MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and a BFA from Purchase College at SUNY. She also has 12 years of psychoanalytic training from the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, New York, and has worked as a clinical psychoanalyst from 2010 to 2017.