Notes on Visual Archeology by R10

/ 4 October, 2014

Judging by his last four series, Jorge Rodríguez Diez (R10) is becoming one of the Cuban visual creators more concerned with the cultural memory of our so singular past. If there is a constant possible to identify in the main body of his artistic production is that of recycling retro visualities, not precisely coming from the world of art, but from other related fields, like graphic design and its tributaries: commercial advertising and political propaganda. (…)

R10 has become interested in another type of images, perhaps with a less eminent visuality, those scattered in innumerable magazines, newspapers or newspaper serials of the times, spontaneous, modest, everyday images, but an irrefutable testimony of the way in which the cultural imaginary and the aesthetic sensitivity of a people is expressed in a specific historical moment. (…)

Now well, what is most important is that all this “archeological” work has no more purpose than talking, reflecting and problematizing on the present. (…) That is why his art is demanding. It requires fairly informed receivers, capable of acknowledging, first of all, the cultural referents being recycled, parodied or manipulated, to be able to enjoy the intelectual subtleties intrinsic in that creative process. The great paradox, what disconcerts many, is that R10’s visual texts are more than contemporary − I would say that to a large extent experimental − and very novel from the aesthetic point of view. (…)

Guardianes (Guardians, 2013-2014), is a series in which Jorge projects the horizon of the past on the horizon of the future, (…). It is a complicated semiotic operation in which real images of social archetypes that today are symbols of the early decades of the Revolution (the rebels in the Sierra, the militia girls, the peasants, the workers, the pioneers) are digitally manipulated by Jorge and inserted in environments he creates, most of them urban. Now well, in these urban environments high buildings predominate and we experience the scale of a big city, a growing city, a highly developed city we dream with and we could have had, or that perhaps my children will have in a given moment. And those bearded men and peasants, those children with uniforms and berets of the sixties, those humble bricklayers, are like ghosts, anachronistic presences, or the ideological imaginary of a past still unable to find an arrangement in the demands of the present and the immediate future. (…) In face of an enemy as diffuse as development, these Guardians will have to drastically change their strategies or will be buried in their ancient trenches…



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