Distended city

Installation landscapes by Humberto Díaz

/ 1 March, 2017

I discovered Eugenio Trías only three years ago.[1] Since then, my perception of the city has been permanently signed by the amplitude of his philosophical project. Because behind the rhizomatic complexity of Trías’s thought, we may identify, in essence, an urban planner (…). For his approaches I only have found complement—in no given measure a substitute—in the fascinating and cathartic lucubration about the technological cities by Paul Virilio.

However, it is not possible to assume this urban-planning notion of both authors—I make emphasis in Trías—in a traditional sense: the design of their cities raise containing the edifications of the aesthetic, of art, of the human condition, of history, of what is ontological. Thereby, the real city offers itself as a background. It doesn’t inhibit itself. It feels, without shyness, how each of its walls collapses when merging together with the ideal city, with the city that was planned.

From this projective logic, unfamiliar with verifications and restrictions, the re-created city by Humberto Díaz imposes itself.[2] Through the in extenso expansion of structures, spaces and genres, this artist modifies without scruples the real city, guaranteeing the foundation of his metaphors. Nothing closer in art to Trías proposal and his philosophy of the limit. Because, although it is evident that Humberto gives priority to the operatives, different from Trías, their speeches converge further away from the generality that means forcing the frontiers, even when that is the trigger. So the category of limit only precedes other common concepts as the notion of sinister, of mirage or illusion, of labyrinth and, finally, of control.

But I insist: that the limit constitutes an initial category in this dialogue proves the transcendence that the philosopher and the artist allow to it. Humberto creates based on what Trías conceives as “bordering aesthetics”, a concept through which Trías pleads for an art that recognizes itself in its plurality; an art that, alien to conventionalisms of the past, defends an amplified vision of its own categories (…). In this way, the urban structures by Humberto Díaz are proposed as a new type of landscape that, not by chance are basically shaped by those arts that Trías names “borderline”, that is, architecture and sculpture,[3] to which the installation should be added.

And in the same proportion in which these “borderline” pieces intend to demarcate the classificatory severity (genres, styles, manifestations, and so on) to which art historiography has accustomed us—perhaps even originated in the misunderstood stratum planning of Plato’s Republic—, also, for them, the notion of finiteness in spatial terms discloses itself as imprecise. Of course, if the interest of this artist is to influence the habitual city landscape using the integrating elements of it, the mega conception is indispensable. (…)

[1] Lecture given by PhD Gerardo de la Fuente Lora as part of the project Órbita at the University of Arts, Havana, March 2014.

[2] In this text I don’t make reference to the totality of Humberto Díaz’s proposal, but only to his mega-installations, generally located in urban milieus.

[3] In his text Lógica del límite (Logic of the Limit), Trías also recognizes music as “borderline” art.

Marilyn Payrol

Marilyn Payrol

(Santa Clara, 1990). Graduate of Art History at the University of Havana. Professor of Theory and Criticism at the University of the Arts (ISA). She is the editor of the website of Art OnCuba magazine. Their texts are available Artecubano News and Art OnCuba website.

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