ASYMMETRIC AND LIMITLESS
CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURAL JEWELRY
The young Laura Lis Peña spent her early youth immersed in the rigors of the training schedule of a high performance athlete, specializing in water sports. A kitesurfing pioneer in Cuba, an injury forced her to leave behind her sporting life and start anew. Alongside her partner Dagoberto Rodríguez, she progressively entered the art world.
“What happened was that I saw in paintings and sculptures what were to my imagination precious contemporary jewels, fun, different… and that was the case with every art exhibition I visited, each art book that I came across.
After my son was born I felt the need to reconnect with myself. I was offered the opportunity of collaborating with the Fundación Arte Cubano on the book Más que 10 Concretos (More than 10 Concrete Painters), and it was there that I furthered my knowledge of Abstract art and approached the story of Loló. Learning about her helped me gain self–confidence, as until that moment I had not studied design, or metalsmithing, and I lacked the assurance to pursue the profession of designer.
I was going crazy with all those reinterpretations that I visualized, until I decided to draw those ideas and from there the sketches for my first jewels emerged.”1 Now, in September 2017, as a debut artist, these pieces are gathered in the El Apartamento gallery, under the title ASIMÉTRICA (ASYMMETRIC); an exhibition of sculptural jewelry pieces inspired by the Cuban Concrete Art movement, which emerged in the mid–twentieth century. These pieces particularly pay tribute to the exquisite creative originality of Loló Soldevilla, one of the most important promoters and cultivators of Abstract art in Cuba from the beginning of the 1950s.
ASIMÉTRICA, as an exhibitionary ensemble, is based on the austerity of primary shapes: the circle, square, triangle. Such pure visual elements formed the linguistic units on which the Concrete Art discourse was based. In each piece, fine silver threads link the constituent parts together, and allow them to spatially interact in a harmonized, and at the same time changeable way; at the mercy of the body’s movement, the wind, or simply our will.
Instead of a fixed precious stone in intaglio and reliefs dripping in gold, the chaton of each ring, for example, contains a portable space proposal, with which it is possible to interact. One of these resembles a plaza containing a futuristic children’s playground; another, a kind of interactive structure that seduces us due to its infinite possibilities and combinations… One could play with these objects, have fun, surprise the observer who attempts to decipher our individuality…
The pendants add another drop of transgression. This time, the essential twin logic of the object will be refuted by an irreverent disparity. Thus we arrive at one of the key concepts of the exhibition, which provides the title for the set: asymmetry. This is explored in multiple ways, including the possibility of rotating the orientation of the earring, changing the pieces based on the shape, or provoking color–based discord. The latter is applied with extreme sobriety and with a rigor that is not intended to adorn but, on the contrary, becomes an eccentric element of the composition and in this way marks the difference, signifies, distinguishes.
Laura Lis’ sculptural jewelry leads us toward another way of understanding the stylistic provocations of Kinetic art which, like mobiles and parks, would be developed by Loló’s playful sensitivity, or the infinite visual possibilities of Darie’s transformable structures.
Beyond any formal presentation in the gallery space, the definitive challenge of these pieces of Concrete Art is that they will move in the coming and going of earrings or rings, establishing an unthinkably intimate dialogue with their potential viewers. The exhibition dynamic that ASIMÉTRICA aims to achieve is as inclusive as it is casual: while its presence contaminates everything and everyone, the pieces become museographically inapprehensible, as suggestions that speak to us in passing.
Once again, the old covenants that limit the work of art to the reading of a wall, a pedestal or a glass case, are broken. The body is thus envisaged as the nomadic display medium, capable of expanding across the city and beyond: limitless.
ASIMÉTRICA is, in the final analysis, a wink of complicity and admiration toward those referents confined to our recent past, many of whom we are not even sure really existed, or whether they still exist.