Rafael VillaresRespirar, 2010
Installation with sound, variable dimensions
In the year 2009, the young creator Rafael Villares obtained the Creation Scholarship Estudio 21 granted by the Center for the Development of Visual Arts (CDAV, according to its acronyms in Spanish). As part of the prize, he had the chance to materialize the artistic project that made him the winner in an exhibition opened in 2010 in one of the halls of the aforementioned institution of Cuban visual arts.
The title of the exhibition turned out to be Dos instantes (Two instants), which has a direct relationship with the only piece that is part of it, one that is entitled Respirar (Breathing). Rafael Villares bet this time for a transformation and total recreation of the gallery space for the conception of a suggestive atmosphere that combined sound, smell, and image.
The piece consists in a light box placed in the center of the gallery, covered with a layer of cracked soil. Through these irregular cracks, one could perceive the only light that enlightened the closed and almost totally dark space that sheltered the installation. Taking the limits of the light box as a starting point, a fake floor was build, one that would be used by the spectator to walk, creating in this way the illusion of a big opening on the ground. The sound a profound breathing is added to this environment, one that is in perfect tune –through the mediation of sensors connected to bulbs– with the diminishing and increase of the intensity of the light coming from the box.
Respirar potentiates a sensitive dimension in its perception; it is the kind of work that appeals, not so much to the intellect, but to the senses and, hence, to the sensations produced in each of the spectators. In it, the union among the atmosphere, the sound, the smell, and the image will be contributing to making the aesthetic experience concrete in the receiver, so as to foster the search for knowledge, as well as reality’s interpreting from the senses, from the senses’ stimulation, from the not-necessarily-rational thoughts our brain produces.
Rafael proposes a more sensitive and intimate relationship with the natural environment that surrounds us by metaphorically providing Earth with vitality. Consequently, the work is not affiliated to the conceptual premises of an ecological art, instead it is talking about the transiting of generations and generations of men on this planet, about the development of thousands of lives that have settled on Earth. It is this Earth the one that has supported, fed, and vivified them. Villares puts the Earth, the soil, at the same level of life, fertility, germination, and birth, but, at the same time, he sees it as the place to which everything goes, where everything ends.
These could be some of the reflections some of the receivers can arrive at, always from the direct appeal the piece does to their senses and emotions. The spectator of this environment starts to unconsciously breathe at the rhythm their ears are listening to. This perfect and simultaneous harmony allows a connection, not only with that fragment of reality he/she repeatedly inhales and exhales, but also with the fellow man that is sharing the same space, it provides the work with a global poetic condition. These two instants that make breathing possible, this very essential and necessary relationship of men with their environment, which is totally automated and that constitutes the base of their lives, is magnified then from the field of art.