The best truths are said in jest
By Roxana Consuegra, Photos: courtesy of Reinier Nande
”The best truths are said in jest” seems only a very popular saying in Cuba. However, thinking about it in the face of Reinier Nande’s artistic production (Havana, 1979), gives full meaning to the author’s ideo-aesthetic duality. From his thesis of the Superior Institute of Art, with Juegos discretos (2005) he showed interest in using the aesthetic language of various hobbies as expressive means to discuss social, historical and cultural issues.
Parody act par excellence: use the visuality of certain hobbies to satirize reality. Crosswords, joining dots to find the figure, puzzles, error finding, word search and crossword puzzles, are the most used by Nande in his works. Formed in series, most are made up of real photographs intervened with or manipulated with features of the entertainment games.
Thus, it is possible to identify “Las 58 diferencias” between a historical image of the Gran Hotel Trotcha, icon of nineteenth-century architecture in Cuba, and a shot captured by the artist in 2016 where only ruins of the facade can be seen. The passage of Hurricane Irma through the capital marked the total demise of the property; A photograph taken by Reinier of this space after the weather event in 2017 evidences the increase in inequalities.
Indeed, the artist uses this resource to provoke the public and invite reflection through visual metaphors. “Las 58 diferencias” do not rest on the superficial task of finding the variations between one image and another in the triptych. The existing background is related, among other things, with time. The Trotcha has the leading role as a testimony of the passing of the years and history in three different moments, a living character that shows the cyclical passage of life ... birth, development in a period of splendor and the subsequent decline until death. In its intricacies, there is also the discourse related to the inability to protect tangible assets when not properly managed.
The series Apuntalando la memoria revolves around this last conceptual aspect. The emblematic building located at the intersection of 23rd Avenue and 12th street in Havana’s Vedado, where the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution was proclaimed, was in danger of collapse and consequently under a restoration process that lasted almost a decade.
In 2012, the gallery space located on the premises of the property that bears the name of this busy corner, was exhibiting the personal exhibition of Reinier Painting & Photoshop at the time it was forced to close. The simile of supporting, sustaining, reinforcing memory, memory, history, then manifests itself as a hermeneutic game supported by the selfreferential component that coexists. But, unlike the Trotcha, the construction is now firmly built and that gallery still functions on the ground floor.
For their part, pieces such as “La estructura de la sustancia” and “Resuélvalo usted mismo”, associated with the game based on the deconstruction of terms from a letter or concept, require a wealth of knowledge to decipher the words. In this case, seen from the angle of the spectator, it provides hundreds of probabilities according to the individual experience of each one.
Provoking reflection and, consequently, corrupting the interpretive stand by are crucial points for Reinier Nande. Accordingly, he uses other media in addition to digital photography.
During his career he has worked in painting, drawing, animation, installation, video art and interactive works. He is, in short, a visual artist.
But the interesting thing is to find the interrelationship between his productions, how a two-dimensional piece is represented in an animation and this, in turn, is a starting point for later creative processes. Fate of his own cannibalism, which turns his career into an (in) dependent structure in constant regeneration.
He is currently in the process of producing what will be his next personal exhibition at the Villa Manuela Gallery. In the project statement he reflects that Métrica, “alludes to the meaning of the term in different meanings… Transgressing the limits of the concept and linking its meaning with the measure of things, places, historical processes, actions and human feelings, is one of the key topics of the exhibition (…) the specific case of “Caja negra” will also include a game with distance, unifying two different spaces of the gallery, as part of the piece, through sound”. We wait with baited breath for this new installment.