Jorge Rodríguez Diez (R10)Cubacel, from the series Ay qué delicia... Doña, 2011
Silkscreen on cardboard, 100 x 80 cm.
[…] Jorge Rodríguez Diez (R10) is becoming one of the Cuban visual creators with more concern on the cultural memory of our so singular past. If there is a constant possible to identify in the main body of his artistic production is that of recycling retro visualities, not precisely coming from the world of art, but from other related fields like graphic design and its tributaries: commercial advertising and political propaganda. That is, Jorge looks at the cultural heritage of the past, but not at the images legitimated as artistic and which, therefore, enjoy today some cultural authority. R10 has become interested in another type of images, perhaps with a less eminent visuality, those scattered in innumerable magazines, newspapers or newspaper serials of the times, spontaneous, modest, everyday images, but an irrefutable testimony of the way in which the cultural imaginary and the aesthetic sensitivity of a people is expressed in a specific historical moment […]. 1
[…] A visual style that is practically unknown to the post-Revolution generations –a visual style that constitutes the tropical version of the aesthetics of abundance in the postwar period that the United States exports. R10’s recycled posters abound in beautiful, very slender, smiling, provocative, sensual women; it is the world of glamour, pleasure, hedonism and full satisfaction, but all of this is seasoned with very autochthonous ingredients like cunning, flirting, ambivalence and a certain callow-people naivety. However, I think the intention is not parodic this time; here the appropriation is sustained by a much more complex and subtler intellectual operation than mere parody. How to make an aesthetic of the past speak about our historical present? Or rather, how to speak from an aesthetic of the past about certain peculiarities of the insular present? That is, to my mind, the creative challenge R10 has imposed upon himself in this series; and the outcome is encouraging.
These are beautiful, elegant artworks, with great visual cleanness, which invite a conceptual game based on a flirting of subtleties that is necessary to trace in the color, the backgrounds, the phrases, the gestures, all in all, in the entire sign textuality, which in some cases is still very minimalist. An example: there is an artwork in which Jorge uses the image of a beautiful young woman who gives away a smile of satisfaction while at the same time she is looking at a small rectangular artifact she holds in her right hand. Next to the object, he has placed a pink little stamp with the ad: double your credit for free. In the lower part of the oval enclosing the image of the young lady, he has written: Oh daddy.
Outside this sort of speculative vision, in the lower left corner, we see Cubacel’s logo, plus some recharge-from-abroad options. I will not fall into the egocentrism of articulating possible interpretative hypotheses this artwork incites us to; I give that pleasure to the readers who have not seen it yet […] 2
1. Hamlet Fernández, “Notes about R10’s Visual Archeology,” Art Oncuba, no. 04, 2014.
2. Hamlet Fernández, “The simulacrum-poster by R10: more than a matter of attitude,” Artecubano, no. 2, 2011.