Making of or trying to make Requer readable

/ 1 June, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Renier Quer—better known as Requer—spent a large part of his time in the San Alejandro Fine Arts Academy with a folder under his arm copying from nature. An admirer of Ilya Repin, Käte Kollwitz and Mariano Fortuny, Requer made a good training in drawing, so great that the work in that agenda has been the conductive thread of his entire production. (…)


Gennadi Mijáilov, an astronaut—of those ghosts who were a legend during the Cold War—has gone to the space with his wife, because his mission was to fecundate there, in the cosmos.  It seems that the death of the girl does not make motivation change. Completely focused in a photo of a zoo he finds in his spacecraft, the astronaut generates a continuous release of spermatozoids to the area inhabited by two male bears. That was the only way to guarantee their reproduction, avoiding the tilapias take ownership of the place…

PAUSE: Too much fiction. Too much dispersion. However, they are the keys of Requer’s “return”. This overdimensioned fiction belonging to La siesta de las tilapias (The Nap of Tilapias, exhibition El ardid de los inocentes, Factoría Habana, 2013), is symptom of a mutation—although not radical—in the artist’s procedure.

(…) With La siesta de las tilapias it seems evident that the copy from the natural had fallen into a crisis. If previously the real registry was privileged in detriment of subjectivity, now the proportion was inverted. But that did not deny the existent referent and it neither dissipated the discursive lines through which Requer went by. The showground of the bears, in their attempt to transcend, “fight among themselves for a power without a meaning, invisible and, at times, ridiculous”[1] is real. It is located in a Havana zoo where, however, tilapias sleep. The paradoxical scene makes sense as metaphor of a system designed differently from the way it functions. The transcendence eagerness of the male, the imposition of power in spite of the “absence” mixed with the vanity to motivate a cultural (cold) war with the purpose of underlining the strategies of the establishment from a fictional focus.

The notion of paradox, on the other hand, is extended to the position assumed by the artist with respect to curatorship, understood as a preconceived and, in a given way, imposed system. Detecting the cracks in El Ardid de los Inocentes, and filtrating the speech nobody was waiting for, was a wise move from Requer, although many did not understand it that way. (Focusing on urbanism allows many diverse points of view.)

But, certainly, the reception was complex. Chaotic, in extreme, La siesta… was composed by drawings that, displayed as a storyboard, took the wall, but without homologation of format, support or technique. The dispersion rises to fundamental category, especially because Requer begins the work from the image sequentially and disseminates it on the gallery. So he intends to achieve a similarity with the ways of perception of the image in the present era: the eternal referral of one link to another fragments the contents and may generate the loss of concentration by the user.

The new interest of Requer on the representation of the representation was set out. The phenomenon of the link is assumed with an eagerness of intertextuality.[2] Images taken from materials thought for the masses—whether cinema, series, Internet images, audiovisual monuments—are quoted with the purpose of inducing a given familiarity in the viewer. An intention “very much Tarantino in the level of a direct quote and David Lynch as to the narrative time”.[3] (…)

[1] Notes by the artist.

[2] In La siesta… reference was made to Hitchcock’s films by Sacha Gervasi and No country for old men by the Coen brothers.

[3] Notes by the artist.

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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