The-Merger. I am art among the arts…
The artist of the 21st Century moves in zigzag between two axes, so distant and complementary that they may even fight in public and then share bed. Critics and market, understood as referential universes diametrically opposed, achieve certain conciliation in the artist’s figure, who in turn depends on them to act as such. The key of his success lies in the extent the artist manages to coordinate both instances, and takes them as his; in the extent he could understand how they work.
On the other hand, in a time that further demands the individual, interdisciplinary has become defining guideline. Currently, restructuration of the anthological knowledge areas starts demanding the artist not only to have a job, but also knowing other realities, other ways of conceiving cosmos. The world changes its course and art must barefoot follow it. In contemporary Cuba, one of the faces assumed by this phenomenon is proliferation of the called ¨artistic collaboration groups¨. Among them, an example that has been gaining space is The Merger, result of the fusion, in 2009, of Mario Miguel González (Mayito), Niels Moleiro and Alain Pino.
In a first approach to their work, the viewer gets caught by the refined image, by the excellent making of a plastic production from which spectrum could not be said: Jack of all trades, master of none. In their creations they use dissimilar materials (steel, woods, bronze, PVC and translucent silicone), all subjugated to their tool function, to their role as a means to accentuate an end based on contents. Their references come from mass iconography, global marketing, industrial technology and the new times. They use a wide range of receptors, so their message deals with several levels of significance. So, even when Gretel Acosta to affirm that ¨the communicative relation that we establish with their work is extremely brief¨, backed by a ¨literature with lack of suggestions¨ (1); I rather think in a refined synthesis, in which several meanings have been included in the same signifier. An open message, full of implicit references to its possible readings that do not overwhelm the receiver, but invite him to sit and receive all they are able to decipher. Indeterminacy, in this sense, is a key element; a space mouldable to the experience, the experience of others, the one ending the communicative act. The work of the group works, even apart from their titles. In the totality of the imaginary they use, in the synthetic way of their forms, covering a wide range of possible decodings, which allows each piece to get rid of its statement, its context, its authors, and still say something to anyone watching them. After all, a society burdened by globalization, the internet, disappointment and death of the great utopias; can just regurgitate and art showing its guts, that is, an art that speaks its same language.
When I met The-Merger at HB (group exhibition organized at PABEXPO, within the framework of the Eleventh Havana Biennial), it came to my mind the white rabbit of Alice, by Lewis Carroll. Then I did not exactly understand why, but I found something unusual in their poetry; something that struggled to drag my attention back to their burrows; that threshold to another universe, oblivious to the conventional dynamics of the art world. Since then, their vision of the moment had some foresight. The formation of a group that is nourished by both academic knowledge and marketing strategies; innovative industrial manufacturing that their aesthetic line has patented; objectivity with which, despite living in Cuba, they have entered in the coveted auction market; responds to a very clear conception of the guidelines by which contemporary Cuban art today moves.
Today, with a solid career in the international market, supported by the presence in many international art fairs, more than 12 sales above the highest price estimated in auction houses, and a record sale of $ 122 500.00 ( Sex Machine / Miami FAAM Auction, December 2013); the rise is unquestioned. To this we must add their participation in the last Havana Auction (November, 2014), with a portfolio of 21 engravings, a product of sketches of some of their sculptures. It is evident that the group has become famous.
Let us recall that, anthologically, the true artist has always been a reader of his surroundings, a being able to translate that code in his works with which the universe is written. The means him to use, his technique, the public that he appeals to, the social status achieved, are variables of an equation which only constant is the ability to decipher -and then transmit- key aspects of his surrounding cosmos. In this sense, I believe that the merit of The-Merger is undeniable.
Photo: Courtesy of The-Merger
 Gretel Acosta: “Globo terráqueo, urinario, héroes, me gusta el rojo”, in the tabloid Noticias de Arte Cubano. No. 2, 2014.