Other examples of my work in public

Santa Lucía is an old community in the centre of the city of Maracaibo in Venezuela. The metropolis was generated around this historic area, preserving in time the imaginary of a distant country. In its main street, which faces the church, once a year it is celebrated, under the initiative of Clemencia Labin- a Hamburg based artist of Venezuelan origin- an evening event called La Velada de Santa Lucía. There, 30 artists unite to produce site-specic artworks in houses of the neighborhood. The work is hard and consists mostly of the interactions that occur between the artists and the community. This place allows play and dissertation in public space.

The crowds of people gathers together as in a fair and observe with wondering eyes how their homes are transformed in exhibition halls. This place filled with colors assimilates works of contemporary art and registers by contrast a singular constellation of events.

I participated in this event for the first time in 2004. Then I carried out what I have called a proof of montage, which consists in using freely an artwork to be observed in a site-specific location, testing and analyzing its context, without demeaning other circumstances. I use what I consider to be flexible artworks; videos in my case, generated for a white cube and reconsidered for each instance of montage, space appropriation.

Alte Saline Hallein,Austria,2002

The piece chosen for this occasion was “Strange Animals of the Salzach” that had been shown in the Alte Saline of Hallein in 2003. This piece talks in two very different reality contexts. In the particular case of Hallein the piece is shown as part of the final exhibit of the Salzburg Sommer Akademie. There, in context, the people that transit the artwork are, mainly, familiar with the art world. In general terms, they belong to the group of cultural operators. In this case, in difference to Santa Lucía, the artwork was related to the concept of mimesis, with the need to hide some of the elements. In this piece bodies float in a river, recalling a closer reality. The treatment of the image is constituted as if it were a great white sheet similar to snow, coldness floating, a strange difficulty to read the bodies, a resemblance to animals in rare waters.

Santa Lucía,Venezuela,2004

In Santa Lucía, the effect was very different. Many of the people that lived there never had even seen a video projection. In particular, the children were curious to learn how that illusive machine worked. These contextual differences made me think about the artwork with a calmer look, free of the rigorous interpretations of art. I reflected upon the message and how the mind of the observer constructs the pieces with his sight. The surprised reactions filled me with satisfaction, feeling that through a window the floating bodies could be really seen. The distance of the mediation diluted itself in astonishment. To my judgment this was a memorable occasion where I filled, in at first hand, the differences that imply contexts. Here the image was also cold, but the perception was completely corporal.

The possibility of exhibiting in Santa Lucía again with another piece offered a real challenge to me. Because of this, within the framework of La Velada, and encouraged by the intervention on public space, I chose the piece “Negrura: the latin temperament does not allow to be Alfonsina”. I realized it as a grand scale video projection on the frontal wall of one of the houses in the street.

I decided upon a closer theme and familiar images. A woman strolls into the sea waving in, in rhythm to a bolero, her body. This time it was the cold again, but a cold in harmony to the tropics, a freshness that has to do with the wind and the water. In general terms it is constituted as a similar piece of art although the approximation was different. The people sang with the beat of La Lupe, the singer, identifying in its idiosyncrasy. The medium disappeared for the second time, making way for the direct message. I understand better now with earnestness Oldenburg’s phrase: Indeed,these site-specific works can be characterised precisely in their acting out of a process, which, like its object, is continually 'on the way between one point and another [Oldemburg,C.(1967)Store Days. Something Else Press.New York.p51.]