Photography is neither social chronicle nor self-referential concern or technological questioning. Although it is that, too. In contemporary art, the appearance of the image, whereas reproduced or interpreted, has reached high levels in the hypertext networks, which has favored its return to a mere virtual element. Then it has become an “insignificant accident” -as expressed by Rufo Caballero- within a larger discourse whose most significant readings exceed its matter, where its esthetic coincidences become pretexts but are necessary, first for self validation and later to de-materialize. For Barthes, the photographic means is pure denotation; it is only what you see. However, it does not signify that its message will remain strange to a non-coded message. The cultural wealth of the observer will always make conjectures, will inevitably construct his perception.
This great paradox today brings together Cuban creators Liudmila & Nelson and Alfredo Sarabia Jr. The artistic duet formed by Liudmila Velasco and Nelson Ramírez de Arellano has coherently appealed in the course of their solid work to the superposition of fragments of reality to question precisely “the real”. The circumstances have determined their settings and postures. Migration as immersion of memory, the self-referential as container of group experiences; the reflection of the political-social environment; the system of relations in a transnational and global world, and the role of the artist subject in society are among the themes most frequently broached by the duo.
In Sarabia’s work, what might be solved through the chronicle becomes subtle and metaphorical element. His research has focused on visual reproductiveness and the loss of the “matrix” or that photographic original due to the overflow of images and their instantaneous access in the era of the computer revolution. In this series he proposes to us a reconsideration of the concept of camera as object that replaces the absent individual. That explains the repeated insistence in personalized cameras inhabiting inert spaces, incarnating lives, constructing memories.
In both artistic productions the captured areas are symbolically superimposed: they re-evaluate the meaning of the second plane, both the real and the mental, because beyond the lens their bodies of work converge in the formal and conceptual anachronism of the composition. The prioritized element of the image, perhaps because of the difference in color or its repeated presence, is situated in the no-place or in the place of the other -where the physical unchains the spiritual.
Havana, November 2014