Apparent silences by Yasiel Álvarez Borges

It is not surprising that at the Dulce María Loynaz Cultural Center, dedicated to the promotion of books and literature, the exhibition Histories in Silence, by Yasiel Álvarez Borges, was accommodated. And it is that this world of (apparent) silence that the young artist proposes to us is precisely about the field of books.

The pieces, which show us bundles of books tied together, or in precarious balance, or forming strange compositions, with their detailed workmanship it seems that they want to avoid thinking about the artist's hand. And closely, very closely, the neutral backgrounds where these volumes float remind us of abstractions. Faced with these works, the viewer finds himself in a permanent game of scales, lacking references he can never establish the real size of the objects.


Yasiel tells us: “They are a symbol of knowledge. I like to compare the human being with a book, open or closed always contains knowledge. It is a pretext to represent the avidity of information of contemporary man. Also, like books, each of us has an inner story. They receive all the information that we can give them, but the interpretation that we then make of it depends on ourselves. That is why I never show the texts that these books contain ”.

And the prominence of this object in his work is not new. “Since 2009, he clarifies, when I was studying at the Eduardo Abela School in San Antonio de los Baños, I began to work on this issue. The initial idea revolved around the spirituality of the human being seen through the objects that he creates. It was the subject of my thesis to graduate at that level. Later, I focused more and more on the book, perhaps because in itself it includes other meanings. So I started the Contenidos series, to which the pieces that I expose here belong ”.

That series, by the way, has already surfaced in other Yasiel Álvarez exhibitions. The pieces that he has shown in Post it, the well-known Cuban youth art salon with a promotional nature, have even been part of it.

In the notes to the catalog, the critic and curator Carina Pino-Santos emphasizes how the theme of the book has been recurrent in the painting of great artists, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries; She emphasizing that, in Yasiel's case, this motive acquires novel features, since he is a young man of the 21st century. “The artist, Carina affirms, takes the book not only as an objectual reference […] but also calling our attention to its global power and its symbolic value in the discourse of history, and not least, as a representation of the almost infinite accumulation of knowledge".

And one more detail towards the end: there are no readers in these paintings; But all the spectators feel we participate, according to Carina's words, given our particular relationship with reading. And with memory, that are also books.

By J. León

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