Animal Planet: Welcome to the jungle

/ 23 June, 2015

Anyone visiting the recent two-person exhibition of artists Hilda Maria Enriquez and Elvis Céllez, staged at the Provincial Center of Plastic Arts and Design of Havana, can perceive at first sight a group of works of naive appearance that use the zoomorphic motive as fundamental theme. A nod to that intention is in the title of the exhibition, which is named just like the known TV channel specializing in documentaries on nature: Animal Planet. But a review of the sample clearly shows that the pieces are made from a space of subversion, alluding in their apparent conceptual simplicity to more complex subjects such as history, social dynamics of the present and interpersonal relationships.

The set stands out by using the animal topic as a base for more complex elaborations, in which the animal nature is extrapolated to pictorial and human nature, making contributions mainly from the visual point of view. Thus, issues supposedly distant or different converge, allowing a match between the proposals of both artists, which not only involves the choice of a common ground.

Meanwhile, the work of Elvis Céllez flirts with naive in a group of works that prefer to be above all circumstantial and like to use textual as a subterfuge of communication. His pieces Cargando lo que la historia no absuelve and Pan pa´ la cotorrita ironically allude to the contradictory essence of man in his historical and social evolution; for the artist the Being is essential center of interest in the metaphorical forced skein he has chosen for his study. On the other hand, Hilda Maria Enriquez prefers to focus on the motive for the canine, sidestepping its wild side and maintaining color interactions with a figuration close to Pop. Her painting appears full of personality in the lines, and she likes to reflect the relationship between animals and humans; interaction marked by confusion between them that the creator exploits from the humorous –as shown in her piece Para morderte mejor–, this fact puts her away from the vagueness of Cellez, whose works suffer from a lack of concreteness.

Animal Planet also evidences an ecological interest, although its defense of nature is finally relegated to the last level in an effort to present the lack of values and morality of human beings. To this end the compositions bet for a speech, as naive as the visual product, causing the sample to inevitably be lax and repetitive. This lack of rationality in the subject that the two artists express comes to be the biggest gain of the set, as it reveals the disharmonious relationship with the environment and the shortcomings of a species that is endangered.



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