THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION: AS OLD A CONFLICT AS MANKIND
On occasion of the inauguration of the Cuban pavilion at Venice Biennial Fair that took place last Friday May 12, Havana artist Carlos Martiel made a very good impression on the public with his performance Mediterráneo. This took place in the large hall of the former Palace of Loredan. Close to the Grand Canal, its furniture removed from the premises, its marble floors, its woody-panel walls, and its wooden roof, the premises evoked feelings as old as man itself. The spectators were placed around the artist. Him, on his knees, enclosed in a glass die and another die the same size on top of him but full of cold water from the nearby canal.
The water passed slowly from one die to the other, by the force of gravity, simulating an hourglass, as Carlos waited, permanently in silence, for the rise of water that filled his space. The whole audience watched the scene quietly, still, for half an hour as the artist was shaking with cold and exhaustion, enclosed in the glass die with no chance whatsoever of being able to move. When water was reaching his face and left almost no space in the die, the volume of the upper compartment already depleted, the artist´s assistants dismantled the structure and then he was able to release himself and go out. A strong applause resounded in the hall, paying homage to the artist and dispelling the tension aroused for half an hour that seemed endless and leaving Cuba´s pavilion inaugurated in the 57th Venice Biennial.
As Carlos himself declared later, Mediterráneo addresses the issue of human migrations and makes an inquiry, specifically, into Italy and Europe´s commitment and accountability for the African migration. «It is about the way the European community opposes the persons that arrive looking for a would-be salvation, leaving behind a world of fear and war, to enter an even worse nightmare that has resulted in hundreds of dead at the Italian coasts or in the impossibility of our peoples to help those who get to arrive».
El momento más emotivo y peligroso, cuando el agua superaba el cuello del artista.