“All art is political”

The first encounter with his work was back in 2008 at the Mission of Chile to the United Nations at meetings I attended there. “A Logo for America”, a flag of the United States made up of lightbulbs turning on and off and flashing the words “this is not America” within the american flag, displayed like a mantra in Times Square in New York. A few years after I saw “A Logo for America”, it flashed up again at midnight one night in August 2014. I started following Jaar ever since, impressed by his ethic and his aphorisms: “All art is political”, ”All art has a critical dimension; when it doesn’t, it’s decoration”.

Jaar, more than just an artist is a dedicated activist for human rights. One of his more political and conceptual installations is the “Rwanda Project”, first exhibited in New York City in 1998. The project took place during the period of 1994-2000. This work of art evokes the place and the specificity of the deaths in the Rwanda Genocide, like the establishing shots of contemporary landscapes in Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah. It shows how the genocide occurred and how bodies flowed down rivers. It’s a representation of an ethical and aesthetic project with a very strong emotional charge. The text tells that over a five month period in 1994, more than one million Rwandans, mostly members of the Tutsi minority, were systematically slaughtered as the world closed its eyes to genocide”. This is how the exhibition begins. The text concludes by emphasizing the strong impression made upon the artist by the eyes of this witness, “the eyes of Guetete Emerita”. “Rwanda Project” wanted to create a volume that represented approximately one million slides, in reference to the one million dead in Rwanda. If Jaar’s 35 mm slides were made into a film it would be over 11 hours long.

But the most provocative and memorable work Alfredo Jaar has produced, is the first part of “The Sound of Silence” in 1995. An installation focusing on the life of the South African photojournalist Kevin Carter, a story about an individual photograph and its impact, and also a story about representation and its unequal effects. An astonishingly moving work on all sorts of levels. The New York Times art’s critic said: “using human tragedy as an artistic readymade has definite pros and cons. Relevance is usually guaranteed; the heartstrings are likely to be pulled” , Jaar’s work raises questions about the relationship between photography and representation; between the medium and its political implications. In a context where reality television shows and web-casting purport to democratize the means of representation. Jaar’s practice is a reminder of the growing gulf between actual representation and its fake imitations.

But the artist’s work involves much more than installations. Rather than showing in museums, his public interventions happen in more political and socially engaged contexts. They involve communities, work with other artists in collaborations, such as in Catia, Venezuela. In Catia, the poorest area of the city of Caracas, an area of the city where there are no cultural institutions his camera became a tool to show a reality. He created a protect called “Camera Lucida” in this impoverished neighborhood where he distributed 1,000 disposable cameras and went to thirty-seven different local institutions, like hospitals and schools to distribute the cameras and explain the project that would later become an exhibition of the photos.

Another social and educational project of Jaar’s took place in Finland where he worked with philosophers and intellectuals and put on show their letters all over Helsinki, with ideas about the brilliant educational system employed there.

After studying few of Jaar’s work, I wondered, what are the boundaries between social interventions and art? And as Jaar himself said one time when he quoted Jean Luc Godard: “It might be true that you have to choose between ethics and aesthetics. But it is also true that whichever one you choose, you will always find the other one at the end of the road. Because the definition of the human condition is in the mise en scène itself ” and then added “I don’t see any difference between ethics and aesthetics, I believe everything we do is political”.

Image by photojournalist Kevin Carter
*This is an essay I wrote for the European Graduate School admission.

Brassaï and the underground

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“The real night people, however, live at night not out of necessity, but because they want to. They belong to the world of pleasure, of love, vice, crime, drugs. A secret, suspicious world, closed to the uninitiated….I felt at the time that this underground world represented Paris at its least cosmopolitan, at its most alive, its most authentic, that in these colorful faces of its underworld there had been preserved, from age to age, almost without alteration, the folklore of its most remote past.” brassai 2 brassai brassai36

Play the game *****

PLAY THE GAME.
Endanger your work even more.
Don’t be the top dog.
Seek out the face-off.
But be unmindful.
Have no thoughts in back of your head.
Keen nothing secret.
Be soft and strong.
Be sly, enter the fray but hate to win.
Don’t observe, don’t test, but be ready for signs.
Tremble, quake, shatter, heal.
Show your eyes, wave the others on into the depths,
care for spaces and behold each one in their own picture.
Act only with enthusiasm.
Fail with ease.
First of all, take time and the long way round.
Be addle-brained.
Go on a holiday as it were.
Overhear no tree and no water.
Enter where it pleases your heart and treat yourself to the sun.
Forget your kinfolk, strengthen the strangers, spaces,
a hoot for the tragedy,
spit on misfortune,
laugh conflicts to smithereens.
MOVE IN YOUR OWN COLORS.
until you are in the right
and the leaves’ rustling turns sweet.
Walk about the villages.
I will follow you. –

from: “Passe par les villages”

Peter Hanke

 

Image by Efy Tal
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My Gift To You—–Te regalaré un abismo

My gift to you will be an abyss, she said,
but it will be so subtle you’ll perceive it
only after many years have passed
and you are far from Mexico and me.
You’ll find it when you need it most,
and that won’t be
the happy ending,
but it will be an instant of emptiness and joy.
And maybe then you’ll remember me,
if only just a little.

My Gift To You, Roberto Bolaño

Photo: Henry Cartier Bresson- Hyeres France, 1932

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Te regalaré un abismo, dijo ella,
pero de tan sutil manera que sólo lo percibirás
cuando hayan pasado muchos años
y estés lejos de México y de mí.
Cuando más lo necesites lo descubrirás,
y ese no será
el final feliz,
pero sí un instante de vacío y de felicidad
Y tal vez entonces te acuerdes de mí,
aunque no mucho.

 Te regalaré un abismo – Roberto Bolaño

Possesion in the dream – Eunice Odio

 

Come

Beloved

I will savor you with joy.

You will dream of me tonight.

…….

Come

We shall dine at the site of my soul.

An extract of the poem by Eunice Odio, “Possesion in the dream”

——————————————

Ven

Amado

Te probaré con alegría.

Tu soñarás conmigo esta noche.

……….

Ven
Comeremos en el sitio de mi alma.

Extracto de un poema de Eunice Odio  “Posesión en el sueño” de los Elementos Terrestres”

 

foto de / photo by: Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Christopher Wool at Guggenheim

Worth sharing just a few images of a great show at the Guggenheim. Using mostly Painting as a medium, here he represents the human environment and cultural references.
This paintings, photographs and works in paper are mainly monochrome and large.
His work is passionate and very inspiring; he is definitely one of the great painters of this era.

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One Night Gallery- Poetic Color

I opened the doors of my Studio last night at PointB, the place where I live in Brooklyn, New York. I got the opportunity to show my paintings and prose with other 4 artists, each one showing their work at their studios.
My favorite moment: when I got to read the prose to my friends.

Thanks, thanks and thanks to all the friends who came. It’s going to be up for a while.

Bellow, some my work exhibited.

POETIC COLOR.

Color is an element that empowers the Soul. Poetry, the articulation of that “Soul”.

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Drums of Joy, 2013. Acrylics. 36″ x 18″ 20130726-112624.jpg

Grounded Crown, 2013. Acrylics, Gouache and Oil on Canvas.20130726-112749.jpg

We are specialists. 2013. Acrylics, Gouache and Oil on Canvas.20130726-112759.jpg

Ojos. (Eyes) 2013. Acrylics20130726-112809.jpg

Glow, 2013. Acrylics20130726-112819.jpg

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Poetas Ocultos. (Hidden Poets) 2013, Acrylics. 36″ x 18″20130726-123517.jpg

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“We are Specialists” —> one day after —- in English

A pilot /poet was writing verses in the sky; a blue background with clear and unmistakable verses that said, “The war is over, destiny has absorbed the distance, let’s escape from it, let’s take the same path.” In my mind, a black and white film ran with images of shadows and silhouettes, both characters looking into each others’ eyes and the protagonist said: “We are specialists, we are surrealists, we manage our attraction with abstraction.” It was as if my left hand directed me to take a road and my right to take a mountain range.

Image by Edward Steichen. “The Quiet Front”Image

Party vs ART : PS-1 on a Sunday afternoon –

Yes, the MOMA PS- 1 located Long Island City, Queens it’s a fantastic place to appreciate art when there’s not a party. M Wells food + not so many people + good company and – any noise these installations made even better my last Sunday. First and best stop: Olafur Eliasson “Your waste of time” 2013. Ice, cooling system, Styrofoam, wood. The artist have been working with many elements throughout his career. This work is with massive centuries-old ice pieces of ice from Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, can be dated around AD 1200. They are presented as sculptures that are refrigerated with a temperature below freezing.

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LAST STOP: James Turrell, Meeting 1986. Long term installation. Meeting is an installation that focuses on light and perception. Its part of Turrell’s series of “skyspaces,” which involves enclosed spaces with rectangular or rounded holes cut into the ceiling exposing the open sky. You can see the intensity of a blue or a pink sky during sunset.

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OTHER: Charles Ray. Man Holding Egg, 2007. 20130513-142057.jpg

Blancos y negros

Despierto en una habitación extraña, una cama blanca de hotel que contrasta con el cielo gris.  El día oscuro despierta alguna angustia o más bien una nostalgia. Nostalgia de aquellos días luminosos. Nostalgia de esos días cuando estaba viva y soñaba. No sé sí era diciembre o enero pero sé que sentía el viento helado en la cara.  Hoy siento tus risas tan lejanas, hoy los sueños son opacos. Por la tarde busco tu sombra, hoy estoy perdida en esta ciudad oscura.  
*foto por Ansel AdamsRails and Jet Trails, Roseville, California, 1953

José Parlá and JR – Wrinkles of the City

The exhibit started in the streets of Habana, Cuba. The Bienal had the most amazing street art ever done in the streets of Havana. Now, they brought us some of the images to the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New Yor City, for us to have a hint of this astonishing work. Please look at the wall outside the gallery. Bravo !!!!!

check their website http://www.joseparla.com —– http://www.jr-art.net/

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#illuminations- when everything is PERFECTLY connected

“There are moments of existence when time and space are more profound, and the awareness of existence is immensely heightened” Charles Baudelaire.

When you set a scene and situation to write about, when you get to see a work of art that you admire, when you arrive at the top of a mountain, when you finish a painting, when you see a smile in a dog, when you feel somebody else’s sadness, when you read signals, when everything is PERFECTLY connected, when you love.

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Road trip

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The streets were damp and gray; those were the streets where no one lived. Deep dark clouds were moving at high speed. It was a special day. I was restless and wanted some signals. It was Friday; we went out on a trip despite the weather conditions and time. In front of us, a big black cloud threatened with a storm. It started to rain. Any hope of sun vanished away. We got into a bar and ordered two drinks. Mezcal for you and Rum for me. “That’s what we needed”, we said, then we left. With the rain, the grass got greener and the blue mountains stood out from the gray lamped landscape. I saw strangers walking and riding through the streets in silence. I drove in silence too. The soundtrack in the car played “my little girl, drive anywhere, do what you want, I don’t care”. It was near nightfall and a little bit of sunlight emerged. It lit up the sky. We parked on a bridge. We had to park to appreciate this. On my right side there was a giant moon rising reflecting its own light on the lake. What a strong feeling of serenity and calm!. I was standing there in awe. On my left side, the volcano was erupting and the sun falling. How much power and inspiration! Tears came out of my eyes. It was a discovery. “Yes, it’s possible!” I repeated. I got the message.

James Turrell at Pace Gallery NY

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Had the pleasure to see James Turell’s exhibition yesterday evening that features a work he started in the dessert in Arizona in 1970.

Autonomous Structures, as you can see in the picture above, are chambers designed for experiencing visual phenomena and connecting visitors with the movements of the cosmos.

As he explained, “Autonomous Structures are just containers for the light; the art is in the experience of the viewer.” Made between 1989 and 2010, the models evolved from spaces Turrell built and designed within the Roden Crater and, like the crater’s chambers, contain Skypaces (apertures to the sky carved into an enclosed space) or Ganzfeld pieces (unmodulated field of light that dissolve architectural space).

Influenced by the design of ancient observatories, including Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the Mayan and Egyptian pyramids, this amazing structures are simultaneously ancient and futuristic.

José Parlá

The Brooklyn contemporary artist José Parlá, has now and until March 28th his first solo exhibition at the Haunch of Venison in London, after one he had back in 2008. “Broken Language” includes paintings, sculptures and photographs.

This work is a vivid resemblance of his life: movement, rites of passage and documented travels then expressed through very diverse mediums. Stories are captured through marking and calligraphy, emotions with layers of paint and textures, and rhythms through lively and deep combination of colors that reflect his Cuban roots.

“Broken Language” proves the logical analogy between colour and sound, between forms and rhythm of beat. These striking pieces give to those observers capable of feeling them, lofty emotions beyond the reach of words.

Part of his latest projects include “Wrinkles of the City”, a collaboration with JR the French artist, for the 11th Havana Biennial in Cuba, a public mural commissioned by the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn and a mural painting commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the new BAM FISHER Theatre in Brooklyn.

Photos courtesy of the artist.

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