OF THE MAGNETS SERIES
MAGNECT, 2000. 23 x 28 x 4 CM
landscape, 2001 28 X 45 X 5 CM
HORIZONT, 2001. 27 x 44 x 5 cm
Silence, 2008 31 ½ x 38 x 6 cm.
Eyes that do not want to see and ears that do not want to hear, díptic, 2004
Caja: 22 X 28 X 5 CM
The traps of the interior, 2008.
120 x 65 x 6 cm
UNTITLED, 2001 60 x 44 x 7 cm
Worries. 2008. 65 x 120 x 5,5 cm
Concerns, of the worries serie. 2008. 67 x 81 x 5 cm
Untitled, of the series concerns, 2006 16,5 x 36 x 5 cm
FROM THE TRIBUTE SERIES TO VAN GOGH
Untitled, from the series Sunflowers by Van Gogh, 2005. 90 X 70 cm C/U
Untitled, from the series Sunflowers by Van Gogh, 2005. 90 X 70 cm C/U
Sunflowers by Van Gogh, 2005. 90 X 70 cm C/U
UNTITLED, diptych, of the series Sunflowers by Van Gogh, 2005 30 x 150 cm C/U
In this series the essence of the discourse is the theory of the contraries. The play is complemented when the artist introduce a natural body penetrated with a stranger material, expressing denounce to the aggression in the all day live. The natural object is a sun-flower and the stranger materials are pins that substitute the flower feminine organ.
The incredible composition of the photos shows the attack of conscience that the creator suffers when she violate the original form of the body extraordinarily design by the nature. She creates a reflexive moment about the contraposition of attitudes that provoke the difference between beings.
Also in this series reappears the butterfly tattoos creating an idyllic situation among a fictitious butterfly and a mutilated sun-flower. Then we think about communication and the erroneous deafness in this global society. Something comes to our minds: How much time we are going to stay isolated of the world and of ourselves?
UNTITLED, 2005. 30 x 40 cm
CARRERA DE TRIPLE FILO, 2007
UNTITLE, 2015. FOM THE BASE BOARDS SERIES.(MIRAMAR, VEDADO, CENTRO HABANA) 85 X 150 CM C/U.
Untitled, 2007 of the Triple Edge Race Series 70 x 288 cm
Untitled, 2007 of the Triple Edge Race Series 2007 40 x 60 cm C/U
Untitled, 2007 of the Triple Edge Race Series, 2012. 90 x 200 cm
Mi interés en estas obras es reflexionar sobre ciertos métodos que en la cotidianeidad utilizamos para escalar posiciones sociales y que implican el perjuicio y el daño ajeno. Me preocupa cómo la dinámica de vida en ciertas esferas, incluida la del arte, condiciona al sujeto a aplastar y lastimar a otros para materializar sus empeños o desarrollar sus intereses pasando por encima de los demás.
La carrera de triple filo sería la pieza donde este enunciado está más claro. La carrera capturada de varios individuos alude a la rivalidad a la hora alcanzar algún propósito, las espuelas metálicas remiten a su carácter crudo e irracional. Más que competencia, se trata de persecución y aniquilamiento, donde cada paso dado por una persona lacera a otra.
Retrato sólo de las piernas tratando de borra la individualidad y pensando en ocultar los rostros para connotar la naturaleza “ciega” de la carrera: no mirar quien o que está delante. Al mismo tiempo, las piernas representan el miembro del cuerpo motor por excelencia, que nos permite avanzar y soportan todos nuestros pesos de por vida.
MY TIME SERIES
Untitled, 2001. 20 X 20 cm
My time, 2003 . 52 x 63 cm
Untitled, diptych, 2004. 70 x 50 cm
In this piece I speculate on time, the permanent desire to have and share more time in our lives, and our work. By placing the hands of the clock on the wrist I refer to my time, yours, and how one system plans and controls them at the same time..
S/T (la de los huevos), 2003.
OF THE SILVER / GELATINE SERIES
Silver / Gelatin, 200. 50 x 70 cm. c/u
Plata/Gelatina (Silver Gelatin print) is a parody of classic photography and the procedure of photographic printing. For this work I use silver jewelry such as rings, brooches, necklaces, bracelets and earrings which I arrange over large planes of gelatin dessert of various colors. Each arrangement is in accordance with the corresponding flavor of the gelatin.
OF THE BASEBOARDS SERIES
UNTITLE, 2015. FOM THE BASE BOARDS SERIES.(MIRAMAR, VEDADO, CENTRO HABANA) 85 X 150 CM C/U.
The Whisper of Feet Beyond Their Ties
Alain Cabrera Fernández
I When Irving Penn photographed famous U.S. jazz player Miles Davis he found a simple and personal way to answer the classic questions (who is he) and (what does he do) that surprises us when we see a photograph of anyone. He decided to capture details of the hands and fingers of the famous trumpet player and with that he at once said everything. The same thing happens with faces, eyes, hair, skin textures, breasts, hips and other fragments of the body that, without the need of demonstrating expressions and/or actions that reinforce a discovery of the subject beforehand, show their capacity to speak for themselves, that is to say, to identify and individualize us from the rest, according to the degree of observation, of course.
But are feet, generally camouflaged by different types of footwear, totally mute? Is it perhaps the fact of being locked up most of the time that grants them no voice and vote? If what they say is true, that la cáscara guarda el palo (you can’t judge a book by its cover), it may be assumed that identity is not only found in appreciating bare feet or hands or fingers. Identity transcends the limits of the human, social, cultural. It is not only a matter of individuals but of generations. It shades into everything and reaches a new dimension from art. You only have to look at the feet.
Rodapiés, the title of the solo exhibition by artist Lidzie Alvisa at UNEAC’S Villa Manuela Gallery (May-June 2011) had feet as the only leading characters. The arrangement of the pieces surprises. It is not common to arrive at a location that is a prime mover of the visual arts such as a gallery, expecting to find works all around (at least on the walls), and grope one’s way in due to the semi-darkness of the hall - and find it apparently empty. So then, anyone can be seized by the doubt of a possible mistake due to a change of program or something similar.
But no, that was not the case. With premeditated intention, as can be seen from the exhibition brochure worked out mainly with 3D images, almost the entire showcase lay at floor level. In the style of an installation, Lidzie placed photographic prints on tiles on the lower extremes of all the halls, reproducing feet that are naked or wearing an immense variety of shoes.
Not all were placed in the same direction; some had been set in the opposite direction, ready to depart in search of new roads, while others decided to remain static and await something or perhaps nothing. Some were tied, sacrificed by feelings, vicissitudes, illusions attainable or not. Calloused feet, with canes, because for the artist it is always essential to include in her discourse the presence of time. Not surprisingly, time and life go hand in hand - it is worth clarifying now - with feet.
Likewise, the curatorial concept of space included two huge prints, new feet tied to their use, from the generational to the professional. Dedication to profession, when it is the one that is strongly desired, demands great sacrifices to obtain results. Inviolable schedules, boundless passion, respect and love that must not be renounced. Thus, the ballerina’s feet are caught by the ribbons of her slippers. The same thing happens with the shoelaces of the classic Converse attached to the striped stockings, imposing fashions and esthetic tastes, impulses and stubbornness typical of the complex phase of youth.
The showcase is completed by the presence of the public. Mirrors seem to have been placed in Rodapiés. They are my feet, yours, anybody’s - it doesn’t matter - establishing an unceasing dialogue with those they have in front. The themes we already know: economy and society, crisis and fashion, gender and generations. In short, they could be many more and all work as a whole. When the spectator recognizes him- or herself, through the feet, in the work, it only lacks hearing the whisper, a light voice commenting about who and how we are. A voice that speaks for us, free from other ties.
PROFESSIONAL, 2015. FOM THE BASE BOARDS SERIES. 80 X 200 CM
PROFESSIONAL, 2015. FOM THE BASE BOARDS SERIES. 90 X 200 CM
ADOLESCENT, 2015. FOM THE BASE BOARDS SERIES. 99 X 66 CM C/U
ADOLESCENT, 2015. FOM THE BASE BOARDS SERIES. 99 X 66 CM C/U
Carlos Garrido Castellano and Adriana López Labourdette
Are feet something that represents us? To what extent does that part of the body contain vital information for understanding who we are? Rodapiés could be understood as a collection of traces, only that, in this case, the mark we leave on the ground appears as part of the body itself. However, it is not only a bodily, biological trace; in this case the weight is determined to the same extent by the cultural stamp, as if it were a second skin, impossible to be differentiated from the organic one.
Now then, the feet that make up the showcase constitute a somewhat uncomfortable witness of a wider reality. Not for nothing could they operate as oblique references of a society and of a certain moment, of the transformations in the form of conceiving ages, in a catalogue of biographies that, indirectly, transmit the reflection of the importance of the social in the configuration of daily landscapes and attitudes. Something similar to a cultural, communal schedule. It’s quite a lot.
Perhaps it would be convenient to dwell on the fact that, one way or another, feet watch us – watch us! – from immobility, detained. Some have even been denied the possibility of movement; they are tied, something that could seem like an appeal to or a wink at the passions that chain us throughout life. Coming from the artist, however, the gesture gains much greater importance, acquiring the value of a referent we never reach, that remains elusive.
On the other hand, Rodapiés appears like a great stage where switched personalities converge, where no one knows who is who. One could think that there is nothing more anonymous than a pair of feet, and yet we find ourselves in the midst of a gallery replete with vital options, in which fashion, trends, habits, urban groups come together. “We meet” is not accidental; the feet to which Lidzie Alvisa has given shape are just half of something that will be completed only at the moment of the exhibition. Because feet, confined to the white baseboard of the hall, in the midst of darkness, duplicate those of the public, of that public that is equally heterogeneous, equally changing, that will attend the showcase proposed by the artist. Or is it precisely the opposite that happens?
At first glance, Rodapiés could seem a harmless exhibition, something that, on the other hand, is frequent in Lidzie Alvisa’s work, accustomed to camouflaging what is important among the esthetic, in the formal perfection. Nothing is more distant from reality. Lidzie Alvisa usually conceals great loads in subtle appearances. To make them explode later, reaching the viewer. This is what happens in this case. A deep exhibition that moves hidden, at ground level. A group, several generations, an epoch. Various glances.
File Status, from the States series, 2012. 35 cm X 150 CM x 10 cm
Digital printing, Hi8 y Mini DV
Empty, of the series States, 2012. 35 x 150 x 8 cm
Acrílic, vinilo, cases hi8 y mini dv
File Status, music version, 2012. 50 X 244 x 10 cm vinyl records, Music cassettes and mini disc
File Status, 2009. 52 x 480 X 10 cm. Digital printing, cassettes Beta, VHS, Floppy, CD, y Hard drives.
STATE OF ARCHIVE: ARCHAEOLOGY TO COME
Elvia Rosa Castro
For Pepe (I have not enough language).
We all know why.
Working on commission, or on a given subject, has its advantages. When the team of specialists at the Visual Arts Development Center celebrated twenty years of its founding, Lidzie Alvisa was invited to produce a project. An entire promotional cycle, a whole history of management and art were celebrating a round-figure anniversary. For that reason the artist was called on to review the institution’s archives and there, precisely at that point, she stopped: beyond the information they contained, beyond the registers she could find – heterogeneous, good, mediocre or bad – Lidzie focused on what made possible the existence of all kinds of documents put at her disposal. The archive and what it means would thus be her objective.
Accordingly, Lidzie began to collect1 those devices we had generally used during that period of time – the last twenty years – to save information, taking into consideration, naturally, the anguish caused by their possible loss or breakage. Diskettes, CDs, pen drives, cell phones and other contemporary devices that have made it possible to save, circulate and visualize any kind of information became part – in large quantities – of installations created by Lidzie.2
According to researcher Anna María Guasch, “two basic principles can be associated with the archive: mneme or anamnesis (memory itself, living or spontaneous) and hypomnma (the act of remembering). They are principles that refer to the fascination for saving memory (things saved as memories) and for a counteroffensive to the ‘death impulse,’ an impulse of aggression and destruction that drives to oblivion, to amnesia, to the destruction of memory”.3
Estado de archivo responds to both precepts, albeit not tacitly but as an evocation, and in my opinion, it constitutes the most compact series in Lidzie Alvisa’s artistic career up to the present. It has apparently minimal installations that combine, in an excellent way, the banishment of narrative4 and the triumph of sculptural skill or the dominion of the three-dimensional. I remember that that exhibition, set up in Servando Gallery, left me with a good impression and accomplished its conceptual cycle in me: a work about memory that remained engraved in my memory.
Lidzie left behind, at least in that series, the representation of the body – the fixative par excellence of information – the pins and the sunflowers as elements that supported her entire dissertation on the tensions between violence and fragility, cutting and noble. And fears generally felt. She abandoned that intimate, self-referential perspective, and also the voice of gender noticeable in her pieces. She also said farewell to Priscilla Monge, her closest companion in artistic journeys.
Time, an essential element in her work – and little studied, indeed – underwent a speculative turn and acquired another dimension. It is no longer assisted in its perishable condition – the sunflower that dies, for example5 – but as duration – in the manner explained by Henri Bergson – intrinsically related with memory. Time is regarded here as gatekeeper and not as progress in space or a simple step.
This series not only deals with summarizing and zipping devices that can basically save information in Kb or time. To structure it, the artist decided to resort to the electrocardiogram as support of the compiled elements, arranging them in a series simulating altered lines of highs and lows, as if we were helping the very heart of the institution, of the artist, of her family, of society and culture in general. The graphic chart of the ECG is never linear, and in the case of Estado de archivo they seem taken from patients with prolapse of the mitral valve or ailing from auricular fibrillation, victims of the symbolic weight of memory, anguished by its loss. The logic of this work is the logic of life. No more and no less.
What do those devices contain that the artist has put at our disposal? We don’t know. We can intuit that stored there are layers and layers of audiovisual information and writing, but we are ignorant of their nature.6 We can suppose that there is an order in what has been collected, a cataloguing beyond the formal aspect. Will it be a random alignment? It doesn’t matter. In this diffusion of certainty before the document is where Lidzie draws away from the best known conceptualism regarding the subject of memory. In general, she provides the possibility of verification – as in Los archivos del corazón by Christian Boltanski – and the work is reduced to a consultation of the document in a relational and participative manner. Estado de archivo and Estado de ánimo, on the other hand, appeal to our imagination, to the pleasure of fantasizing, and does not care for the literality of paperwork or archivist information, or for the anti-speculative and sociological quality of the document.
While the artistic tradition brings back memory – photographs, documents, registers7 – and prioritizes information and sociology, Lidzie alludes to a covert operation: we know there is something inside those electronic components but we don’t know what it is. And of course, our consumption is more enjoyable because, among other things, we are speaking of memory in an abstract, general sense. Of memory as concept. In this sense, On Kawara is the closest of all with his series Data Paintings or Today Series, a work in process that took him approximately twenty years (another coincidence).
He, like Lidzie, does not care about traditional staging for this type of artistic research, and the result is a succession of works of minimalist appearance – serialization and chromatic scarcities; order that gives little information at first glance and whose basic hook is visual attraction based on the primacy of esthetic quality. A cool visuality that stores and compiles warmth, a perfectly structured result that emerges about heterogeneous and dissimilar information. Here lies the main charm of both artists. The Japanese man places a small shy box with a newspaper clipping of the day that informs about those numbers that lack drama and that, in the end, are autobiographical codes. There everything takes on meaning. The discs and remaining modules used by Lidzie may take us back to the pallets of a big warehouse or black boxes containing enigmas, whose inside we can only reach by destroying the work, by blowing up the system.8
Estado de archivo is a series to be fully completed and consulted in the future, that construction that makes the present more bearable. At the same time it gives Lidzie Alvisa the possibility to frequently come in contact with a strong trend of conceptualism and post-conceptualism of strong roots and vitality in our continent, and tunes her into a whole theoretical production dealing with the archaeology of knowledge,9 with micro-mappings of stories excluded or marginalized from the discourses of power and which circulate as adjacent, rhizoidal or parallel correlates to the channels where knowledge flows in a hegemonic way.
Here the artist breaks the agreement with the evident data – statistically verifiable – and hides the story, leaving us on this philosophical plane of speculation, because the importance of this series lies in the symbolic tribute to memory as evocation of the document and not as categorical, conspiratorial or accusatory presence. There is no moral judgment in Lidzie, although the work becomes a sort of “spiritual auscultation” that diagnoses, does not judge but alerts: with the same speed that we can accumulate and date information, through the new means of storage, it is possible to lose it, whether through a virus or because of incompatibility of systems or by pressing the wrong key. The effort to destroy that information, which at the same time is a huge source of knowledge, is minimum and deadly. That is why this series is, above all, a compliment, a monument to that ROM memory – José Luis Brea assists me at this point, as usual – dealing with the capacity to collect, with the space available to compile stories, narrations of narrations. From a new kind of archive summarized in databases. Having to do with eccentric shelves where cultural accumulation is also possible.
1 The owner, administrator or holder of an archive is a type of collector as passionate, big-eyed and fastidious as any other.
2 At this point it is legitimate to mention that Lidzie had already been speculating on the idea of linear and conventional time, shattering this notion and constructing it from an anarchic will. Such is the case of Mi tiempo, another of her best works, which is on the road to tautology.
3 These pieces also speak of technological irony in our context: difficult access to networks, schizoid or fragmented conversations through cell phones that work more like beepers, etc., etc.
4 The largest archive of Cuban audiovisual memory was constructed in Miami by Waldo Fernández, “Marakka.” Artists Ernesto Oroza and Magdiel Aspillaga made a documentary entitled Marakka 2012 describing the way in which this new kind of cultural manager appropriates the island’s – and even North American – cultural products, establishing a new vision of piracy as something both morally and legally legitimate. He used things from BETAMAX cassettes to present-day CD’s, among other supports. Now that I am reexamining Lidzie’s work I sense a curious link between them: audiovisual material, archive, art. Conscience of the memory. As if she would freeze, or to put it more exactly, preserve in her pieces the coming and going of Marakka’s “new” materials.
5 Anna Maria Guasch. “Los lugares de la memoria. El arte de archivar y recordar.” In PDF format, the essay was found on the net, but is part of an interesting volume of her authorship: Arte y archivo, 1920-2010. Genealogías, typologías y continuidades. Akal Ediciones, 2011. I thank artist Luis Miguel Valdéz for having sent me the archives in digital format, because it was very difficult to download here given our “connection.”
6 That minimal and anti-narrative and even anti-scenographic trend was already present in her drawings with pins from 2003, or in a work as timely and compact as Plata sobre gelatina.
7 Boltanski himself, Fernando Bryce, Richter, Regina Galindo (more about memory than about archive, traditionally speaking), Celia and Yunior, among many others. Now that I’m writing this, I feel it necessary to add that every container is, in itself and in some way, an archive: they contribute information and, in their way, are keepers of a certain memory (tombs, body engravings, etc., etc.). In the present text, as will be seen, I am handling the most elementary and familiar idea of archive linked to memory: written, audiovisual information that enables us – going back to Foucault – to speak about the past.
8 It is in fact interesting to follow the path of the works: they have been broken into and opened (read) at Customs. Customs officials, due to paranoia and suspicion, have been “full” consumers of Lidzie’s installations.
9 An almost literal paraphrase of Michel Foucault’s book Arqueología del saber.