Art On Cuba - - Index - Betty Gago

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. ƒ

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