Do words continue to exist in Iván Capote’s work?

/ 1 March, 2016

With VERBUM (l) Iván Capote once more displays in Galería Habana his visual games with words. The eldest of the Capote brothers is one of the Cuban artists who have been more constant in the use of verbal language as a point of departure for the elaboration of a visual discourse. But Iván is far from using words as “dematerialization” strategy of the work of art, as classic conceptualism with a linguistic vocation intended to do. On the contrary, his works explore and exploit the corporality of words, potentiate the physical elements of the signifiers, give them sensorial resonance, volumetric cover and perceptual atmosphere in a language whose morphological structure usually becomes invisibilized in current use. Iván has become a sort of sculptor of verbal language. (…) The conceptual universe living in the language system is projected in the space from the corporality and aesthetic relief of metals as iron, bronze, steel, aluminum or more subtle chemical substances and physical elements as lights and shadows.

No More Words (Mentiras) is perhaps the only piece in the exhibition where the letters shaping a word pile up, in this case inside a stylized glass of water. The S was left outside. (…) The phrase in English is a claim on negation: no more words, which could also be said in the following way: no more lies. (…) The replacement of a term for another passes judgment on the language as a system to a certain point autonomous, generator of meanings without “real” referents, imaginary constructions, representation shams, falseness, lies… With the phrase “no more words”, Iván seems to be inciting us to withdraw from the state of passivity with regard to the reception of false speeches, disconnected from reality. And if, in this point, we think on the title of the exhibition, Verbum, the call to action seems to be evident. Now well, the work closing the exhibition also has No More Words. In this case, the phrase sculpturally materializes with bronze letters, but this time the final S of “words” has been deposited inside a spherical glass bottle which functions as an O. The aesthetics of the graphic forms that take volume in the space, the forthrightness of their physical presence, visually reaffirms what the phrase intends to deny…. perhaps the fragmented “lie” inside it is also sarcastically denying the literal contents of the words in the title. If this hypothesis is convincing, both works, as a whole, would be propitiating a self-reflexive conceptual game on the very logic of Iván Capote’s work. The artist declares in both titles that (there will be?) “no more words”; in the first case, however, he introduces in the container a dissident sign which casts doubt on the content of truth of this statement and, finally, endows the phrase with a sculptural forcefulness which also ends denying its linguistic meaning.

Then, what can we conclude from all that? Does Iván say and contradicts himself? Will he continue using words in his future projects? Is he announcing, in a subliminal way, a new moment in his career? Or are this only representational mirages of the infinite contrapositions and complementations that art may cause between the visual and verbal languages? At the moment, we can only speculate: time will tell.

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