Yoan CapoteIsla (pertenencia), 2010
Oil, nails, hooks and José Busto’s blood on canvas and plywood, 75 x 120 cm.
Yoan Capote’s Anaemic Megalomania
“Any limitation causes happiness,” Schopenhauer would say, I suppose, referring to the celebration of the limit (the absence of the bridge) as a space in which all restraint creates temperance. If so, in that warm and somewhat uncompromising state, one can be happy if misfortunes are avoided. This relinquishing the ecstasy of extreme moments in search of tempered self-realization, suggests a mediocrity that undoubtedly works for many. However, Savater’s proposal of a “dialect of life” deafens in its blunders (jumping into the abyss when there’s no bridge), thus showing on the margins the best of lives.
This notion of collective mediocrity seems to be generalized in insular conditions like ours. The constant and prolonged absence of the bridge (since there’s definitely none as long and firm) immerses us in a profound somnolence, indifferent to routine escapisms. Ultimately, there’s always the limit, the shore; and the sea makes this dialectic of life and its margins less likely. This vision of the sea as the only frontier of the island, supposes a myriad of meanings for who, from the inside, differs from the prevailing recipes of mediocrity.
Isla (pertenencia) –Isle (belonging)–, a work by the visual artist Yoan Capote, puts forward one of the most eloquent artistic views on the subject of insularity. This seascape reminiscent of Leopoldo Romañach abandons the luminosity and colour of the early twentieth century master to connote another idea of the sea as a geographical limit regulator.
For Capote, when one belongs to something or to someone (even involuntarily) one assumes a certain spiritual commitment to the body and the environment. Such a commitment doesn’t always imply a bifurcation, but, when there are disjunctives between physical and subjective belonging, that generates tensions to the identity. In such a way, a sea landscape of strictly contemplative appearance can become a sea of piercing spells. This allegory to the painful and certainly cutting duality of the geographical-identity mark, makes the seas of the artist a universe of sharp nostalgia that lacerates the most recondite of desires.
The point of view suggested by Yoan is nothing but the finite and infinite trait that the sea represents for those who suffer from the insular condition. This is how he defines human life, at least its hopes, like bait that ventures into an ocean of challenging hooks. Belonging then represents a sine qua non condition for those who have to be born in an island of the third world. Surpassing such a condition could become a deadly enterprise, often unattainable. The artist knows this well, since he has given away a bucolic visuality from a distance through the expressionist frenzy of the brushstroke, at the same time aggressive in his most mediate approach.
Yoan Capote adds blood as the final component of the piece’s DNA and reaffirms a subtlety of additions that speak of vital elements of life and the environment. This anaemic visuality of the landscape that the artist ironically suggests hides an organic matter that perpetuates, not in the artistic fact but in an act of life.
This new conception of the marine landscape (violently forgotten in the scene of Cuban art) assaults the fabric and makes the contrast of surfaces an entity of rich signifiers. For those who have noticed in Cuban contemporary art other treatments of insularity and emigration (why not?), Isla (pertenencia) proposes a metonymic treatment of such topics with excellent formal and conceptual strictness. In the same way, the game continues and again it throws at us the challenge of observing with critical eye our contemplative position before landscapes that do not know auroras.
–Modesto D. Serpa