Currently on view until October 14th 2009 at the Museum of Art in Caguas (MUAC), TENDENCIA is a multidisciplinary event that brings together a group of contemporary artists whose practice ranges from video, installation and urban art. Organized by Victor Alex Reyes and Norma Vila Rivero, the event boasts of presenting a curated sample of emerging artists that reflect prevailing global trends in contemporary art. The event included an exhibition space where nine artists showed their work and an adjoining space outside where viewers could enjoy live music performances by Jesus Christ Scientist and Campo-Formio against a backdrop of a large mural by the urban collective The Lovers.
Inside the museum, Carlos Ruiz Valarino’s videos Dropped and La Virazón were the most arresting. La Virazón depicts an island landscape gone awry, as a few seconds in, the image abruptly turns upside down. Much like turning a dollhouse, this shift provokes the steady fall of the people in it. A metaphor for current political changes and their after-effects?
At the other end, presented on a small DVD player, Christian Sánchez’s Identity depicts the artist desperately peeling off layers of semi-transparent women’s stockings from his face. Shedding his skin to explore notions of selfhood and awareness, the artist tears the layers of stockings while his face is subtly visible but remains hidden. Much like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, it is only when he begins to see at the end of the video that his sense of reality is skewed. Rafa Miranda’s Por un tubo y siete llaves (translated to ‘through a pipe and seven valves’) appropriates a popular saying where ideas of consumption and excess are addressed. Although the installation is rather literal, a steel pipe with seven valves, the piece instills on viewers a sense of familiarity, and elegantly ties spoken language with an aesthetic reality that brings to fruition the ludicrousness of the saying and its symbolic implications.
A curious find was Catherine Matos Olivo’s piece JM6. In it, the artist presents tattered pieces of her own past found in her backyard in Levittown, the first gated community that Levitt constructed outside the US. The installation is comprised of photos of the house and the found objects in their place of origin, as well as a small shelf where the objects were presented. From a toy kitchen to a glass bottle of soda, the nostalgic remnants of a forgotten past, the work evokes renderings on memory and the false promise of urban developers of a quiet peaceful living space. Works by Karla Cott, Marnie Pérez Moliére, Carola Cintrón, Karlo Ibarra and Javier Román were also showed.
Although an excellent sample of work is presented, viewers will probably have a difficult time figuring out which trends they are referring to. Installation and video are hardly new trends. Apart from the mediums used, the artworks on exhibit also struggled to relate to one another. I suppose we are left to rely mostly on our impulses and imagination to create possible associations between them. Placing curatorial questions aside, the event is an exciting start to what can become a trend in itself. Initiatives likes these promise to reactivate the local art scene, serving as a platform for young emerging artists in need of a space to show their work. What else is there to say? Show me more…
Originally published in the Puerto Rico Daily Sun
Photos: Jason Mena