Marta Soul is a talented photographer and curator, who was born in 1973 in Madrid, Spain. After her 15-year relationship ended, Marta decided to document the first kiss as a symbolic of immediate satisfaction. First kiss is almost guaranteed to be a little awkward, but some stories really take the perfectly romantic moment. For her project “Idilios”, Soul’s alter-ego unapologetically kisses 18 different men. The series is constructed in an ideal context in order to accentuate the romantic love experience.

In her work, Marta Soul tries to produce visual reflections on the interplay between themes of cultural interest, like the aesthetics of identity, emotions and social behaviours. Photography enables her to focus on issues concerning the stereotypes assigned to different social categories such as immigration, gender, group dynamics or romantic love.

Idilios (Spanish lyrical word for ‘romances’ in English) shows a series of romantic recreations based on amorous experiences represented by the same woman (the artist’s alter ego) kissing different men in various places. The series is constructed in an ideal context in order to accentuate the experience of romantic love. A jewellery shop, a golf course and a luxury hotel appear to the observer as appropriate sites to stage romance. Experiences become more intense and happiness gets materialised.

The kiss is the main act and the only one, a symbol of the stereotyped romantic situation. Immediate satisfaction is found in the kiss. It is the begin and end of the entire narrative scene and it is the iconographic element of the image too. What the red-headed star of the series does is to consume that moment as fully as she can.

It is about consuming too. The man appears as the woman’s partenaire: he is just one more element, not a co-star, and therefore he changes with the setting. The action is dehumanised to some extent by this reiteration of instants that give priority to light, luxury and form over emotions. Constant renewal seems to be the only path to reach our ideal, which is perhaps more in line with an advertising slogan than with any other belief. The reflection in this work originates in trying to understand how we integrate our emotions into a consumer lifestyle in which everything has to be attractive yet has an expiry date because there is a constant search to change for something better. Romance is another way to achieve the goal held out to us as the maximum aspiration: happiness. These images stem from the need to visually express the materialisation of this expectation.

-Marta Soul