Coup de grâce

/ 1 March, 2018

Today we live in a world in which reality flows through the rapid reaction of social media and the globally interconnected media. We all believe we know of things that we have never even experienced. The “authentic truth” has become one of the great utopias of today. It is a power that consumes and goes beyond individuals. In this coming and going, the paths of everlasting reality, of the events and witnesses that document history cross with those of the socially armed and shared fiction.

Dennis Izquierdo belongs to this world, not because he lives in it, but rather because he understands the codes managed by his time. He feels part of the game of manipulations of contemporary imagination and of its power relations. Resources like the theatrical and fiction, he says, are what allow me to suggest and create a certain mental state in the work. He shares the space of art with those of reality to reach an ambiguous and cynical result. His critical spirit was consolidated when he started studying in the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), where he has his bronze foundry and is a professor of sculpture. A graduate from 2008, his name forms part of the fist graduates of the 21st century, who mark the guidelines of young contemporary art.

Tiro de gracia (Coup de Grâce, 2017) – his last solo exhibition in La Acacia Gallery – establishes a connection of continuity with all his previous work, specifically with the 2013 exhibition Rojo (Red). In both collections, he questions a philosophical current that “justifies” war under the mechanisms of a supposed political rationality. (…)

In Tiro de gracia, the military theme serves as the scene for other controversies, among them that of the “historic truth.” (…) The illusion as a deceptive metaphor of reality is a pretext to design the dimly lit environments of the exhibition. (…)

The display starts with a remake of his production. With a more confidential tone he inserts, on a small scale, the piece Armory Show, 2017, a macro installation that he had made in 2015 as part of Zona Franca (Duty–Free Zone) during the 12th Havana Biennial. For Tiro de gracia, Dennis reissues the structure of the barricade. He stacks small sugar sacks over a heap of raw sugar and places on a miniature machine gun built by him, to serve as a lookout. The smell of sucrose activates the senses. Breathing it stirs up the foundations of history. It’s impossible not to look back at 500 years of cultural heritage linked to the production of sugarcane, which consolidated the Cuban nation and identity. (…)

The question of the present, the evocation of politics, violence and armed conflict are retaken based on one of the oldest social institutions: marriage. As stoic bronze columns, two real 50–centimeter–high projectiles are a call to attention to relations between Cuba and the United States, whose history dates back to the independence of the 13 Colonies, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams. Engraved on the projectiles – as if they were engagement rings – is a short text taken from the constitutions of both countries.

(…) Dennis Izquierdo is a provocateur of the senses. (…) He created for himself a definitive law that does not conform to the established methods and the stagnant truths. (…)

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