A puzzle for multiple paths

/ 1 September, 2016

(…) The game, its rules, strategies, roles and the ludic element it implies have been present in the work of Reinier Nande since his graduation in the High Institute of Arts in 2005. In his thesis, entitled Juegos discretos (Discrete Games), his interest on deepening into determined sociocultural experiences, in this case the games of chance, to understand and question other wider phenomena, as social behaviors and institutional practices was already evident.

It is not fortuitous, then, that Nande considers the exercise of creation as a sort of game of chance, in which the ideal participants are space and time. And he has given expression to this in solo shows like Playing (2010), R.MUD (2015) and PUZZLE, this last one the most recent of the artist, presented in the centric Galería Servando in Vedado. Those exhibitions, as well as some of his pieces included in various collective projects, have placed us before an authentic manipulator of the appearances that likes to reveal invisible zones or zones lacking visibility, but not because of it less real in a space-time resisting to oblivion.

In this sense, PUZZLE, relying on the presence of Edgar Hechavarría as an invited artist, incites us to rethink on the vertiginous changes that are taking place in Cuba, and he does it starting from the game as pretext and metaphor. With regard to the former, Haciendo la noticia (Making the News) is one of the best achieved works in the exhibition. In it, Nande has set off from the popular hobby that has as a purpose to build images through lines that communicate, following numbers in an ascending order. The spectator should take part in the game if wanting to know—or in this case “to do”—the news hidden behind the order of the digits. Nande places us in a double position and our role as actors in the construction of the work is as important as our role as spectators. Once the final image is revealed, the news is made before our eyes: presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro shake hands in one of the most transcendental moments in the history of both countries: the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.

(…) As a good chronicler of his time, Nande grants special importance to the notions of space and time. In pieces as Apuntalando la historia (Upholding History) and Las 58 diferencias (The 58 Differences), he dialogues with the past, but without obviating his condition as an artist of the present or the re- semanticizing of the events. With some nostalgia he talks to us about the ruins with which we daily coexist, but whose presence and symbolism are barely noticed by many passers-by. That is the case of the building placed in the centric corner of 23rd St. and 12th St..in Havana, which today is an extensive agglomeration of scaffoldings and wooden supports, but that on April 1961 received an event as relevant for the country as the proclamation of the socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution. Nande invites us not to remain inert before the destruction or loss of history, of the symbols, even in those cases that their connotations, under the light of the new contexts, might seem far-off. (…)

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