The upcoming Havana Biennial will host again many Cuban artists who have regularly participated in the most important event of the visual arts in Cuba. Over eleven editions the registration of creators has been heightened and renewed, following the pulses and transformations occurring in the world of contemporary art. So, for the next celebration of its twelfth edition some names are repeated like that of the young Cuban artist Rachel Valdés, who this time will appear represented by her piece La Composición Infinita. Since her successful reception at the past biennial, with her participation in the collective project Detrás del Muro and the exhibition of her public intervention Happily Ever After , the Cuban creator for this occasion replaces the sixteen feet long mirrored wall by an environment that stimulates senses.
Entre la idea y la experiencia becomes creative challenge for Rachel Valdés, who exactly becomes her artistic praxis into a research process linked to actual experiences, with a strong self-referential component. The pleasure of making the work is highly appreciated by the artist, who enjoys the most both when painting on a canvas, that when pressing the shutter or venturing to the realization of large installations. Generally her aesthetic proposals are connected to objects and image from the factual world, in which the dilemma that the human being experiences from different levels of reality in which it participates becomes latent.
Specifically in her work La Composición Infinita , she insists on calling attention to the need to analyze, observe and experience these realities addressing the existence of man in relation to the environment. Again it is the distressing dichotomy between real life and the ideal life, accentuated this time by an environment that immerses the receptor in this diatribe.
With regard to La Composición Infinita , we offer you an “infinite conversation” with Rachel Valdés:
How do you think your piece La Composición Infinita is inserted into the curatorial proposal of the 12th Havana Biennial, which, under the theme Entre la idea y la experiencia (Between the idea and experience) invites to intervene the city, reinterpret spaces and redefine aesthetic imaginaries from new interpretations of artistic consumption?
I think that the proposal Entre la idea y la experiencia is a good concept to develop; I believe that one of the main objectives in this Biennial is to involve the viewer completely and to exchange dialogues, insights, conclusions, through different media art, creating new sensory experiences. La Composición Infinita is an installation of inclusive nature, where I invite the viewer to enter into the own space comprising the piece, to experience from there the immense perceptive possibilities.
What is the conceptual substrate that works as a catalyst for the piece?
With this installation I make emphasis on sensory experimentation of visual and auditory states within a space. I base myself on “perception” in the study and analysis of color, the way it is transformed, its formation through the light, its existence and nonexistence. I like creating scenarios that move this reality to another version, experiencing the feeling of entering a completely different environment, where perspective becomes incomprehensible, light, color, sound and reflexes take over the space, betraying it, from one composition to another. For me it is like a landscape, a limbo, a mystical and seemingly infinite place.
To what extent La Composición Infinita summarizes the artistic concerns of Rachel Valdés?
It covers constant themes that concern me in most of my installations. The experience of seeing myself reflected in an environment is something that strikes me greatly, making the viewer to become a direct interlocutor, who even becomes part of the piece. I believe that repetition of an element or its reflection evokes a contemplative act of reflection into the past and present, it is like a materialization of time; where I often make reference to the choice between the different realities that make up human life, the mental and the physical, the objective and the subjective.
From your experience in the last Havana Biennial with your public intervention Happily Ever After as part of the collective project Detrás del Muro, which do you expect will be the reception of, this time, your work La Composición Infinita?
With the piece Happily Ever After exhibited at the Havana Biennial I had the opportunity and experience to share with all audiences, being art connoisseur or not, a large and diverse state of opinion was created, which was something truly enriching. This piece represents an important part of my job.
In the case of this new installation, which certainly does not cease to be an enigma, I could not say exactly what I hope because I honestly do not know what the reception of people will be. Each of these pieces is developed largely through the viewer, but it’s something that you never know until they are put in their place to display. Whenever you’re projecting a work for the first time before an audience, you go to the next and final level of what the creative process is It all starts with an idea, a simple drawing and thereafter the realization of the piece itself starts, the production, assembling and then finally the staging, which is the most exciting moment of the whole process. Being able to share with people directly and achieve a constant interaction and dialogue is the most persistent goal I have in addition to continue my speech on each of these works of public character.