Heterogénesis - Magazine of Visual Arts - 2006 nr 55-56

Morten Viskun (Norge) Love from God - Installation
PHOTO: Ximena Narea


Ximena Narea

Although the Biennial focuses on art produced in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, in each edition artists from other countries have been invited. The visit of Nelson Ysla to Scandinavia in 2004 resulted in the participation of four Norwegian artists: Kjetill Ingvar Berge, Gillian Carson, Sissel Tolaas and Morten Viskum. The Swedish artists of the constellation FA + (Ingrid Falk and Gustavo Aguerre) also took part in it.


Sissel Toolas (Norge) Without Borders - Mosoeawe
PHOTO: Ximena Narea
Gustavo Aguerre
& Ingrid Falk

Empedrado - Plaza de la Catedral

Intervention of the San Ignacio street from Plaza de la Catedral to Plaza Vieja in La Habana Vieja
Historic City Center

San Ignacio corner Amargura
The elevation of the low

Corner Callejón del Chorro

Gold stays for the High, the Sublime, the Sacred. Through gilding an object you elevate it to a higher level and value.

Through gilding the lowest and most ignored objects of the street (sewers, drainage’s, water pipes, wastebasket, etcetera) we rescue them from their “invisibility” and point out their function and importance.

Without those elements no city in the world would function. A water sewer is as important as a beautiful functional building even if the tourists or the own inhabitants of the city would not notice them.

To elevate the low is actually nothing new in art, one can go back to Altamira. Since the Renaissance, when the artists start to shift the focus from the sacred to the worldly, the “low” motives of daily life have being painted, sculptured, singed, photographed, filmed.

What it does make the difference here is the context and the site specific, public space situation. Cuba today and gold in the streets.

The context is the point. One thing is to move an over decorated construction machine to an art space or a fakir to an art biennial room or a basket ball in a aquarium to an art gallery.

The construction machine never went back to a working situa-tion but to a museum’s collection as an exclusive art piece, the ball never played basketball, same for all the other art objects.

Here the objects never leave it’s own context or function, they never change identity, but the “art” came to “re-value” them.

Even the “lowest” elements are important, vital, for every society, the people of Havana understood that very well and like it.

To give a value to the “low”... Wasn’t that the intention of Castro’s revolution? To gild the day...

San Ignacio between Amargura and Tte. Rey

San Ignacio corner O’Reilly

San Ignacio corner Teniente Rey - Plaza Vieja

San Ignacio corner Obrapía

Plaza Vieja

San Ignacio between Obrapía and Lamparilla - at the marketplace

San Ignacio corner Muralla - Plaza Vieja

FA + has produced many works of art in public spaces, some of then temporary, as L’ Art of Triomphe (Stockholm, 1994 and Haag, 2004) and other permanent, like the series of quotations by August Strindberg in Drottningsgatan Street, in downtown Stockholm (1998) and the quotations by Henrik Ibsen in downtown Oslo (2005).

In a Havana intervention, objects were hidden to the urban eye with sheets of gold. In this way the artists intended to point at objects of everyday life at which we do not pay attention, but that have paradoxically become indispensable for urban life.




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