Iván CapotePower is Powder, 2015
Coin filing and oil on canvas, 100 x 90 cm.
About New Procedures and New Concepts
Few things in life do not deserve to be discussed; the art –perhaps because of its deep relationship with human subjectivity–, rarely allows sentences. It is impossible to affirm or deny with absolute certainty, without having any doubts. Art –forgive the truism–, is not only a feedback between creator, work and public; the art is born, grows, stumbles and is taken away and reviled, to be accepted and legitimized later; it is mixed with a society that makes it of its own and therefore, dependent on its structures. Then society, that one that causes art’s existence, sometimes crushes –perhaps unwittingly–, the possibility of development to those ones with creative will, but sometimes it gives honor to those who deserve it.
Amid a bleak artistic panorama for many, where the formalist self-complacency and the aesthetic onanism are preferable to the search for redemption and the belligerence that are better for the art, the work of the Cuban artist Iván Capote keeps constant. Being an important figure within the contemporary national production, a precursor of a way that feeds on the conceptualism of linguistic heritage but which is presented genuine, transgressor, and legitimate, Iván Capote is one of those artists who have taken their oeuvre as a platform for dialogue, for the historical-philosophical reflection and human questions of the greatest universality. There are not empty uncultivated areas in his procedure: each image embodies a sense, an interpretation of the world and its contemporary logic.
He uses for it the resources offered by language. However, we must not understand by language only to the word. In his creations everything speaks: letters and their position in the space, the material with its symbolic games, the formats he uses and their settings… There is a balance and an artistic and meaningful coherence in Iván’s artworks that allow him even to talk about the construction of an individual style, of a visual poetry formed from his years as a student to present day and it finds strength and insight in his latest productions.
Among them, Powder is Power becomes relevant, an artwork done in 2015 in which the author leans once more on the alliteration and formal analysis of words to alter and manipulate symbolically our readings. Then the perceptual instant and the decoding of the writing become a metaphor. To this are added the meanings provided by the material itself, where filings of coins that cover the surface and even seem to hide the syntagma, allude to the power of money, the axis that articulates power, the gun of control and subjugation. “Power is dust” seems to be the most accurate translation and it becomes a strategy of attack and a denunciation to contemporary political and economic mechanisms that govern and articulate human behavior. That is why he presents the word, because it is a strong, inert body, susceptible to interpretations and solemnities.
The linguistic sign devoid of acoustic experience is without any doubt an effective strategy that becomes essential to understand present-day society, which is under siege by a constant informative and sensorial contamination, a complex network of texts only decrypted through reading. That is why Iván Capote appeals to art as a code to be read, as a verbal reflection which is at the same time ironic, sarcastic, and even funny.
Oil on canvas has been the technique selected this time, a traditional medium that stresses the two-dimensionality of the artwork, his adherence to the conventional procedures of creating. Nevertheless, there are some sculptural traces behind this technique, and also a sort of a sense of installation reinforced by the use of those filings of silver and golden coins that give texture and a physicality to the artwork. And it could not be otherwise, because Iván Capote has the capacity, intrinsic to his art, of transforming all graphical quality of the written text into an object and allegorical sensibility.
Conceptual, minimalist, even pop, those may be the stylistic references of the still young Cuban artist; actually it does not matter if his procedure is sincere and impeccable, if there is a rewrite of the history anchored to his oeuvre, a reinterpretation of the world and its contemporary dynamics.