Alas con puntas, Roberto Chile’s Sturdy Wings to Fly High
- Submitted by: admin
- Arts and Culture
- culture an traditions
- Paint and Sculpture
- 05 / 01 / 2009
The 10th Havana Biennial has turned Cuba’s capital into a surreal art museum. Twenty five years after the organizers of the biennial gave it a first try, the event has gradually gained the reputation and open spaces it deserves. At present, not many cities in the world display herds of tin elephants resting on a busy plaza, huge humanoid cockroaches crawling up the walls of the National Museum, or avant-garde performances breaking the quietness of undisturbed art galleries.
But, in Havana, as we speak, these are some of the keys to understand that the goal of confrontation, reflection, integration and resistance that has brought together over two hundred artists from about forty countries is pretty much alive.
Alas con puntas… Toma 2 (in English, Wings with Tips… Take 2) is a good example. Cuban documentary maker Roberto Chile has gathered a group of local artists of the likes of Franklin Álvarez, Kamyl Bullaudy, Luis Enrique Camejo, Nelson Domínguez, José Antonio Hechavarría, Alicia Leal, Cirenaica Moreira, and Reinerio Tamayo, and blend the wide variety of their artistic visions with his own audiovisual look.
And the result has undoubtedly been one of the most cohesive and compact mix of audiovisuals ever produced in the island.
A set of over a dozen TV screens of different sizes, some piled up on top of each other in the middle of the room where the works of the eight Cuban artists are displayed, showed, one after the other, eight art videos that kept the audience motionless for about twenty minutes.
It was good to enjoy the wonderful palette of sounds and images Roberto Chile managed to achieve. The soundtracks, written and recorded by Frank Fernández, Alexis Bosch, Emilio Martiní, Miguel Núñez, Mónica O’Reilly and Obsesión, gave Chile's eight art videos the balanced hook it takes to make the audience glue their eyes onto the screen and never want to look away.
That is, without a doubt, Alas con puntas… toma 2's most accomplished and attractive stance.
The videos, which individually show each of the eight artists at work, make you want to watch them over and over again. The camera moves or stays put, and still you want to see the tiny details that fly away from the screen propelled by the wings the title of the exhibit suggests. The hook lies in the fact that you first have to see the exhibit of the eight pieces hanging on the walls, to which Roberto Chile himself acted as curator, to then fall in love with the audiovisuals he competently created for the occasion.
But Chile didn’t work alone. He was skilfully aided by a team of experts, some of which have been part of his crew for years, including Salvador Combarro, Reynier Aquino, Robin Pedraja, Juan Carlos Romero and Juan Matos. And once you start watching, it is easy to realize that this is high-calibre video making. The camera moves when it has to move, the eyes look where he wants them to look, the edit cuts where it has to cut, and the soundtrack seems to be born together with the shots.
It is not the first time Chile works with local artists. This is something that goes over a decade back.
At the opening ceremony, art critic Virginia Alberdi said that the museography of Alas con puntas… Toma 2 “is enriched by three-dimensional elements that ‘jump’ out of the canvas or the digital work to widen their visual angles and benefit the outcome, bringing the exhibit together and giving installation-like character to the pieces.”