Manuel Rodríguez-Delgado & Rafael Miranda at METRO

IMG 2710 Manuel Rodríguez Delgado & Rafael Miranda at METRO

Rafael Miranda, participative action.

“The future is there,” Cayce hears herself say, “looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the past behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now.”

William Gibson, Pattern Recognition

If we are today merely fiction, then, the narrative of life begins to unfold in the interstices of time, space and distance. Science fiction, or perhaps we should consider it just fiction, attempts to collapse the temporal space between the present and the future. Our imagination acting as the adhesive that keeps unlikely pieces together, and the narrator or author, as our guide and counsel. The sculptural installation This Object Defeats Time and Distance by artist Manuel Rodríguez-Delgado, showed at METRO:plataformaorganizada under his solo show Cognitive Dissident, presents a visual metaphor for this experience. The artist, an avid reader of science fiction novels, has created a sarcophagus made of cast fiberglass and equipped with floating devices, which is accompanied by a bookshelf comprised of the artist’s personal collection of novels. But instead of acting as a body preserving receptacle, here this floating capsule becomes a disruptive object that allows for the transformation of time into a disassociative element that  overcomes spatial considerations. For Rodríguez-Delgado, reading is an act of travel, as he imagines himself drifting away in a capsule, immersed and consumed with the world suggested in the pages of the book. The artist, whose work frequently tackles the possibility of flight and the reconciliation of opposites, here, engages the viewer in a very personal work that could be best defined as a sculptural portrait; an intimate encounter with the artist’s profuse imagination. The installation is shown with three schematic drawings that document the sketches, thoughts and concepts that led to the realization of the final work.

IMG 2550 Manuel Rodríguez Delgado & Rafael Miranda at METRO

Manuel Rodríguez-Delgado, This Object Defeats Time and Distance

IMG 2667 Manuel Rodríguez Delgado & Rafael Miranda at METRO

Manuel Rodríguez-Delgado, This Object Defeats Time and Distance
Also on view is LCAC-Jungle, a study for an improbable machine; a hovercraft that can travel through the Namibian desert carrying atop a consructed jungle. Perhaps a ‘non-site’ of the island of Puerto Rico, this proposal for a ‘hovering jungle’ presents viewers with an unlikely possibility. As with previous works by Rodríguez-Delgado, this maquette is a proposal for a work that is not intended to be materialized. It exists in its proposal form, as a self-contained sculptural project that attempts to ignite the imagination of the viewer.

IMG 2503 Manuel Rodríguez Delgado & Rafael Miranda at METRO

Manuel Rodríguez-Delgado, LCAC-Jungle

IMG 1913 Manuel Rodríguez Delgado & Rafael Miranda at METRO

Rafael Miranda. Installation view.
In an adjacent show, Rafael Miranda, an artist that has approached art making from  a diverse number of perspectives, presents a sculptural approximation to the city that posits a simulacra as well as a conceptual metaphor for urban decay and deterioration. The artist’s studio, which is physically in the colonial city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the main site for the exhibition’s conceptualization and production. In this city, buildings are protected as historical monuments and documents, but also suffer from ongoing disintegration and dilapidation. This entropic system is further complicated by the fact that a stiff bureaucracy prevents building and apartment owners to make vital repairs quickly and efficiently. The sculptures presented at METRO:plataformaorganizada under the title Algunas paredes hablan (roughly translated to ‘some walls speak’) are disenfranchised fragments of the city that keep a historic, social as well as political narrative. A city’s walls, subject to graffiti, deffacement and constant structural transformation, hold its history. It is here that the stories of the city unfold and manifest themselves. The objects created by Miranda are referential simulations. Made of concrete, styrofoam and paint, they do not only intend to recreate pieces of these walls, but also attempt to evoke the stories behind them. In the exhibition space, the pieces were scattered on the floor, one hanging from the ceiling. As if wanting to replicate a contemporary ruin, the visitor was confronted with the remnants of a city in decay; an archeological find which also posited a participatory act. Outside, one of the sculptures was left for visitors to intervene. Tagging and personal messages made way for political ones. As these surfaced, questions also surfaced regarding the true nature of these acts. Vandalism or free expression? I suppose it depends from which side of the fence you are looking from. Although here, in the context of art and its presentation, it did imply a process of spectacularization; a collective performative element that was also rather fun to watch.
-Carla Acevedo-Yates

IMG 2678 Manuel Rodríguez Delgado & Rafael Miranda at METRO

IMG 2739 Manuel Rodríguez Delgado & Rafael Miranda at METRO

Images by Abdiel Segarra

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