Every epoch generates its own horizons of expectations and it places on them the intellectual breather, rest of the look, the anxiety and sleeplessness. Through this intangible building of collective imagination to think and experience the most unmotivated facts of everyday life and our present promises various paint-looking imaginary. The most current events related to the immediate context have changed our perspective on life and reality, undoubtedly contributing to the formation of an atmosphere of time settled in the assumption of a change and, paradoxically, in fear of their implications: for Cuba has begun the zero hour. Perhaps, for this reason it is not entirely unreasonable to find a royal allegorical figure of today’s in the most recent personal exhibition that Alexander Arrechea offers to the public at the salons of Galería Habana.
Morphologies that will find here come from a definitely elliptical language, a symbolic tremendous fortitude, and a manifest formalistic willpower. In the expressive strength of its structures, and in the atmosphere that goes around, huge messianic signs will light up. Two large installations, responsible for weakening the original nature of the gallery space, climbing the walls and hindering the hasty passage of the spectator; and an overwhelming triptych, definitely attract attention. They are designed according to the basic precepts of minimalism, in sharp privilege to a formal technicist finish where the geometric perfection, the predominant use of a snow-white tone, metals in some cases and glass in others transform their ideoaesthetic universe in the stronghold of hotheaded visual values. But beyond building with his works the manifest of an unexpected delight in “the aesthetics of the white” typical of the culture of American transvanguard, Alexander Arrechea nails symbolic signs to this era.
It may be more clear about the triptych of watercolors that closed the show. A structure of infinite extension occupies the horizon in a taciturn environment of gray and brown damp tones. Its silhouette is held on a zigzagging pace that reminds the freshly tilled land, in first state of fertilization, ready to receive new foundations; it also mimics the terrifying portrait of the industrial cities of the late 19th Century. In the center of the composition it has been inserted by means of a text, the iconographic entity 00:00. This expresses alone the demarcation of an instant start of a final beginning, in which a step forward arduously eliminates the possibility of stopping the course of events triggered; at the same time, prefigures the last moment, the peremptory arrival: the irresolute definitely duality of contraries. So, Arrechea outlines the basic cycles that fly over us and prefigures the horizon of expectations that moves the present in an allegorical image. Perhaps that is the land where veteran utopias will die that even today besiege us; may announce, with its warm clamor of death, the fatal character of others, not so old, which right now we walk dusting.
Either way, this monumental image reminds the Italian vanguard artist Giorgio de Chirico’s painting The Enigma of the Hour (1911). It shares with it the taciturn and shrouded character of an invasive atmosphere, in short. It hangs when it places on the boundaries of such a disturbing universe.
All his recent work counts with a metaphysical air, under which the syntagm of minimalism gets a different dimension, more related to the colossal and extraordinary landscape painting of that pictorial current of the European vanguard. Finally, his structures are solid bodies, presumption of crumbling artifacts, deliberations in the interlude of a confusing flurry of fear and hope, feelings, without more, that the future is uncertain.
Then, the articulation of this exhibition in Galería Habana has a feeling of being excessively forced. The works displayed in the exhibition had a visual power that overflowed the gallery enclave. The montage was decidedly violent and it threatened the total effectiveness of artistic endeavor. Those bodies presumably solid were tenants in a grim atmosphere. It is true that this could intensify the unnatural character of the structures and that it was linked with the expressed intention to generating a generalized estrangement in the receiving process, enriching the end of the contents determined in each of the component works of the exhibition. However, the vastness was required in this fictional universe so meticulously planned.
–Luis Enrique Padrón