Aimée García

Disrespects further from cutting and sewing

/ 1 September, 2016

The project Behind the Wall usually offers categorical works to that symbolic patrimony the Havana Biennial is. Fe (Faith), by Adonis Flores in 2012, and La dama de rojo (The Lady in Red), by Aimée García in 2015, make my rotundity utterly verifiable and believable. There are two or three more, but I think there is unanimity on these two. For example, in the 2012 Biennial, by Aimée, a black mantle knitted in situ covered twenty meters of the breakwater wall, the Malecón, also known as the “Havana sofa”. Pureza (Purity), that was its title, is a very good work too. (…)

And Aimée continued embroidering. She began to take the newspapers published in Cuba, especially Granma, the omnipresent, and embroidered each letter with thread. She crossed it out with parsimony, slyness, calculation and sangfroid, creating some compositions she entitled Discurso Suprematista (Suprematist Speech). Between ironical and literal, the link is clear: reduced chromatic presence and geometrical—preferentially lineal—compositions which stop in abstraction. Granma is, we know, the bicolor replica of the speech of the Revolution, or better, of the official defining itself as revolutionary.

According to Aimée (watch out, we should not believe too much on what an artists say of his own works!), it was her purpose to create a space for mental rest in face of the overwhelming media avalanche to which we are daily submitted. An “empty space”, she said. Aimée explaining the Zen-sense of her work. And she is right! She empties, yes, she makes the ideological speech drain until leaving it dry. She censors the censor. Hamlet Lavastida pierces speeches, posters and all the visual imaginariness of power in the 1960s in Vida profiláctica (Prophylactic Life) and Aimée embroiders. That is how decorative pieces trivializing any original meaning result. (…)

Aimée García, belonging to a generation of Cuban artists defined as cynical, knows about the ego and the aura, but also about efficiency and instrumentality. She knows that the aseptic varnish of a gallery or a museum is not the same as the ferment and contamination of the public scene. Invited by Cuban Art Found and Times Square Arts to make a project of public intervention in Times Square, she very well knew that however megalomaniac she was, her proposal would never be sufficiently hegemonic compared with the fascination and visual strength gathered in that confluence of corners. But what is fascinating generally overwhelms, a reason that took Aimée to opt for a subtle project, which would counteract the effect of bewilderment of that “image container” placed in the heart of Manhattan. Times of Silence is the title she chose for a proposal consisting in the location of three structures that displayed totally embroidered Cuban and North American newspapers. An amplification of the Suprematist Speech with a contextualized title.

With Times of Silence she continues that operatory: embroidering local and insular newspapers is not only overruling a space of power, but creating a space of mental rest in the midst of the visual information of that square. Such a hyper-real avalanche that becomes empty and abstract. Aimée suggests a counterpart to the “useless perfection of the image” and offers a free oasis, a soft interstice or a zone of silence in the midst of the stressing bustle of Times Square. The Zen-sense contemplation —with a given dose of intrigue—is the ultimate goal of that work. (…)

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