…his strength has only been enough to have a look inside
his own self. And that has already scared them deeply.
Human life conducts in mutually exclusive pairs, which at the same time complement each other, and maybe that’s the reason why Hegel’s logics was present in modern thinking and seems to be born again, despite discontinuities affecting existence every day.
Mari Claudia García is an artist moving between fragility and strength; that is clearly seen in her whole work. As it happens with opposites, it appears these qualities cannot share a same body or gesture, or a destiny, and perhaps it is worthwhile to remember that due to the mysteries of creation, they were the main interest in one of the great films of Andrei Tarkovski: Stalker.
The almost sculptural objects recreated in Mari Claudiaʼs artwork come from her aspiration, as she puts it, to deviate from any indulgent stance, and with that purpose in mind, with a minimal aesthetics, she has different meaning levels interact, which brings about a situation where non important objects become very powerful metaphors closely linked to social imaginary.
An object is known by its appearance and its name. Changing one or the other, combining them or altering them, are well known resources to put together contents, and to say, almost in a whisper, very hard truths that nobody wants to hear about. This aesthetics is the fragile form of strength, and is a path, that Cuban art is successfully taking.
The pieces that make up the series Del consumo a la comunicación y viceversa (From consumption to communication and viceversa) are identified by that combination of strength and fragility through different levels of meaning. Let’s take, for example, the piece entitled Una llave que abre cualquier puerta es buena, pero una puerta que se abre con cualquier llave es mala (A key that opens any door is a good one, while a door that can be opened with any key is a bad one), consisting on a bunch of identical keys, and only one has the word “Happiness” engraved. The aspect of the object, the bunch of keys in this case, is kept intact; moreover, its utilitarian function can be discerned. The key continues to be what its name designates, but only one of them takes us to the main destination in our life. Every decision we take, the whole of our actions go in that direction, and the artist seems to tell us that getting to that destination requires many doors to be opened, but these doors are not always the ones that will conduct us to the desired end.
The various sense levels articulated in the piece serve to spread the message, a mixture of philosophical meditation and popular wisdom. Hence, among text, physical object and title, a balance is established, condensing meanings not exhausted in the physical presence of the object.
That same path is followed in the piece Objeto utilizado para coaccionar durante… (Object used to coerce during…), showing an engraved inscription divided into two objects representing brass knuckles. The text reads: Una voz clara no puede competir con una fuerte (“A clear voice cannot compete with a loud voice”). A sharp member of the audience will recognize the artist is setting a trap, for the logic of a maxim will always reaffirm moral values, and this is not happening with what we are being presented. The original phrase comes from the Chinese thinker Confucius: “A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper.” When altering the phrase, Mari Claudia puts it in tune with what the brass knuckles represent, the physical strength confirmed by reason, because the object carries with it a phrase deviating any illusion of being heard. The voice has been silenced from its very physical senses come into play, including one which has been demonstrated many times: how the latter can be devastated by the former, and much to its regret, this would not mean a triumph of strength, but evidence of its weakness.
The video Poco pan y pésimo circo, (Bread and circuses) makes use of the resource of altering a well-known phrase, in this case, with a historical sense, which has been incorporated to popular knowledge. The video needs to be projected, as the artists puts it, on a small screen, to achieve a reference to domestic photo frames, and the pose adopted before a photograph. In the video, she appears sitting on a park bench, and suddenly, Little by Little, it starts to snow as the only moving detail. Again, we are in the presence of unreal situations, of a coincidence of elements out of step in their encounter, of a risky title, a hermetic one, if a direct link with the image is desired. One only has to take into account that, in our context, snow has a lot of meanings, and waiting only one.
Mari Claudia has been able to achieve coherence in her creative work out of a number of constructive procedures that she uses in a systematic manner. Her poetry, does not intend to restore the aureatic work, but to highlight a semantic game connecting objects, in the ready-made tradition, with literal meanings complementing or putting in crisis the natural sense of the object.
One of the personal observations of the artist revolves around the fact that Cuban context does not produce images, but above all, texts. This assertion could be subject to reflection, that she puts to our consideration, but undoubtedly, the new Cuban art is a constant presence, a continuous resource and a destination privileged by metaphors.