Rafael VillaresPaisaje itinerante, 11th Havana Biennial, 2012
A Landscape Hanging in the Air
Undoubtedly Rafael Villares is one of the most important young figures of Cuban artistic panorama. He graduated from the Superior Institute of Arts only two years ago and nevertheless, he has already important personal exhibitions, awards and acknowledgements to his credit. Restless, innovative and risky, young Villares spares no efforts in the making of his artistic projects, projects that always turn out to be ambitious and require something more than just the cunning and wit of their author, since they imply technological efforts, large formats, human collaboration…
Every artwork of this young artist is a reflection about humanity and its relationship with the surrounding space; it is a piece of nature extracted from nature itself to alert man and undo the automation of their experiences. And when it is put like that, it might not sound like anything special, or a great artwork, different from any other contemporary artistic proposals, but when we go deeper into this artist’s creative process, its audacity and soundness become evident.
Paisaje itinerante (Travelling landscape) is one of his greatest productions and it is a small natural environment created parting from a laurel tree, grass and a bench, all of which is inserted in a giant pot that hangs in the air from a crane. At first sight it seemed as if the landscape would have the leading role in the artwork, but it is the individual the element that epitomizes the artist’s creative suggestions. Inserted as part of the 11th Biennial of Havana, and financed by the art collector José Busto, Paisaje itinerante extrapolates a piece of ground and invites the audience to rethink about their reality, underlining the imaginary limits we suffer as individuals who are apparently productive in a community.
It is pure sensorial impression, what entails that man, as a creative individual, establishes a direct relationship with the surrounding space and breaks away from the mass of rational thoughts and spontaneous sensations. Perhaps that is the reason why Villares prefers to make up passable environments where the personal and collective experiences take independent roads and merge at the same time.
Paisaje itinerante became one of the main attractions of the artistic mega event of Havana and it went around important spaces of the city, which allowed the visitors to reshape their perceptions about landscapes and reality with its daily dynamics. It is impossible to classify this artwork or its creator as part of any particular art form, since they make merge the limits of sculpture, installation, drawing and photography. Nothing escapes Rafael Villares’s eyes, who does not cease in his efforts to place art as the focus of attention of reflections and analysis.