El fósil (The fossil) by José E. Yaque

/ 9 June, 2015

About object, its death and resurrection

Some become creation into a sensory experience. The works by José E. Yaque (Manzanillo, 1985) have that strange quality to manipulate the perceptual act. The charm of his pieces lies precisely in achieving sensitivity to the aesthetic act without including baroque concepts. He goes back and forth in time, without historical anchors, he moves between different art forms. He demonstrates an unexplored erudition. Therefore, the Twelfth Biennial of Havana found a close connection between its curatorial principles and the poetics of this artist. He tells us about his presence in this edition.

We have seen –all along your artistic career- works that embrace the concepts of art and nature. How do you understand this relationship?

These concepts are always in my work, but I think them as one. I would summarize it on an idea, which I think contains both essences: “creation”. Nature is omnipresent, the permanent evidence that strikes me most of creation. It exists in nature, in us, and perhaps it is a phenomenon which strength is highly manifested in art. Sometimes I take as principle the expression “The creation does not understand”, title of my graduation project at ISA and also of a series of later works. That phrase helps me to explain my idea of creation which I also assume with the entire unreasonable burden that reflects within nature.

Nature is in all things, but also is behind everything. This is a thinking extracted from Eastern philosophy, which I use at times. Nature is what you understand and what you do not understand too. That makes it amazing, inspiring. I have a number of pieces I call “living works” in which I work directly with natural elements, shoots and seeds. I am fascinated by that kind of works that are essentially the result of contemplation; where, as a social being, I’m not causing anything. I think you work with permanent creation; it exists independently, beyond you as an artist, as a person. These are pieces product of contemplation that you just perceive, and design.

While we appreciate an excellent technical mastery in your drawings and paintings, there is another part of your creation in which you grant special attention to space. What relevance do the natural element and recycling acquire in this type of site specific pieces, and how would you relate them with your planimetric work?

The first is how I understand the technique. Technique for me is not something which I a priori use when I am going to make a work. The concept of technique involved in my work is evidenced by the extent to which the work is developed, in the process. In that case I have never rejected such a notion, it is impossible to be against it. The technique is always manifested, whatever you do, but in my work it does not attempt to coerce the process. It’s amazing when you’re in the middle of something and other ways emerge. There you begin to deploy ways of doing, new ways. In that sense, I do not start a work with a preconceived idea; I do not think any piece thinking about what I want exactly. Usually I do it with what I have; idea or object, without distinction, idea-object / form-content is the same to me. It is a long journey that begins with the search, and then the idea becomes clearer, I go finding the image, which is actually the most important, and technology plays a key role in that process. For me the technique should be revealing; I aspire to that final image, but without an anticipated technique. So the relationship between my planimetric and three-dimensional works responds to this logic. At first I do not know if the result will be painting, drawing, installation, or any other. Often I start a work believing that is a drawing and it ends up being a painting or an installation which is summarized as a drawing or any other “strange conception” that I end up calling of enviroment or site specific.

Regarding space, obviously the work always ends in one, which can be more or less eloquent. All spaces have their speech and I have the habit or sensitivity to hear it before showing the result. The site itself is almost always the one that invites or calls me. I also want the viewer to articulate a physical relationship with the work, not only intellectually. When I exhibited at the Center for Development of Visual Arts the piece “Perseverancia derramada” which consisted of a fire hose with a flower pot at one end a shoot in the other, I used the stairs to the galleries upstairs as installation location. The flower pot was first and at the end of the route you found the shoot. Hence, a physical relationship with the work, which was not a metaphor or a poetic thing, was established, it was something you experienced with the whole body.

The Twelfth Biennial of Havana has proposed boosting those works where procedural aspect gains considerable importance. In this sense, we know that in Fósil II -your proposal for this edition- the work process acquires both prominence and result. Could you explain what is this project about and how it will be visible?

Almost everything comes from the ground and returns to it in an eternal circular motion. The work I titled Fósil II, aims to reflect on this issue, the cyclical and the transcendental. When Michelangelo performed his sculptures, he said that all he did was to take out from the stone, bodies and shapes that already lived on it. His working process was kind of collaboration. With the work Fossil II, among other things, I intend, through an inverse process, to return to the ground what it allegedly came from it; to bury, although ordinary, a personal object but also an idea to then get something different from the ground. When I presented the project to the Wifredo Lam Center, I left open the possibility of selecting the installation site. The curatorial team could get involved and suggest me areas. Jose Manuel Noceda, curator of the Biennial of Havana, told me of a place in Casablanca, I went there and I loved it. Although it is an earlier work, in essence it remains the same. However, the change lies in the space chosen. By being a disused land, scene of a collapse, it came in line with the type of work I’ve been doing, where the idea of landfills, places where the object is transformed and returns to earth, is manifested. That’s why I always try to understand the curatorial speech of the exhibitions, to try to effectively insert my work.

Given that Fósil II will be built in time, and that many of its viewers will only partially appreciate it, have you thought of documenting this process and display it as part of the result?

The process is definitely going from birth to death of the work. Most of the time there is no formal result illustrating or not all the previous cycle. In my case, I’m very jealous when someone asks me to document my as a picture or video. I like to leave it on “rumor format”; neither photographic nor video-graphic, but to see how people -to the extent that you are making the work- get connected, are part of it, suggest, comment. I think that’s the time to test the ideas.

Loliett Marrero Delachaux

Loliett Marrero Delachaux

La Habana, 1990. Licenciada en Historia del Arte por la Universidad de La Habana. Desde 2013 labora como especialista en el Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam. Ha publicado artículos sobre arte cubano y latinoamericano en las revistas Arteamérica, El Caimán Barbudo, Extramuros y el Boletín Ojeada que emite el Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam.

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