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Memory of the Other

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A make Down (Take Two) by Dennis      Adams

X-Mission by Ursula       Biemann

X-Mission by Ursula       Biemann
Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center ,
Jun 10, 2011 - Jul 22, 2011
La Habana Vieja, Cuba

Memory of the Other
by Magaly Espinosa

Although Krzysztof Wodiszko’s series of videos --beginning with Hiroshima Projection (1999)(5)— deals with public space and thus has something in common with the work of the other artists featured in the show, he makes very particular use of that space. It is a stage, with all the expectancy that all stages hold, a place of transit or a territory for us to share, to be moved by the stories that unfold, the stories the images contain, remembrance, guilt, and perhaps the certainty that forgiveness also forms part of a memory. Buildings, plazas, streets and monuments containstories, harsh, sometimes incomplete images, extraordinary metaphors of a testimonial expressed in a dialogue with the space. It is what makes his work all the more unique, since each site is chosen for its stories, relived and enlivened so as to penetrate the subconscious and awaken memories, or chosen for their evocativeness, given the purpose of each public space. Krzysztof offers interdisciplinary, multiculturalwork made using the most contemporary languages of art, and yet in all cases the images and what they portray are so intense that spectators can view his work in the solitude of their own memories and critical judgment.

Finally, commenting on Ingrid Wildi’s piece, Arica, Norte de Chile, No Lugar y Lugar de Todos, (Arica, Northern Chile, Non Place and Everyone’s Place) (2010) is impossible in such a brief review, given her highly unusual way of approaching the subject of identity from a complex analytical standpoint, based on the different factors that influence each of the personal stories she presents. In them, local conflicts and personal histories vouch for a way of experiencing life that makes us wonder what a sense of identity means in a forgotten, liminal place that does not seem real, but rather a dream or a nightmare. Her pieces speak of the complex but commonplace experiences that arise from personal stories and the way reality is interpreted. However, her work is not a documentary that follows artistic rules: it is Wildi’s keen gaze that marks the focus of the narratives and then grasps the common ground in each, gradually incorporating items that provide proof of the weight that cultural memory can have when it goes beyond territory, time or even existence.

Grasping the topic of memory involves understanding the characteristics of the space she inhabits, since the link between space and memory becomes inseparable when one seeks to discern the personal, social and cultural contents of memory. The artists we have referred to, or those whose work we have briefly reviewed here, point the way to wise solutions that highlight local conflicts beset by the global conditions that surround them, along with the strength that those conflicts maintain and that give them unity, making the ingenuity of each artist evidence the power of art when, as Anna María states, it becomes a place for memory.

Magaly Espinosa


(1) La experiencia contenida. Las películas y fotografías de Hannah Collins. Carlos Guerra interviews Hannah Collins, in the catalogue of the La revelación del tiempo exhibition. Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, 2010. p.95.
(2) Ditto, page 96.
(3) Ditto, page 97.
(4) Oriol Silvestre Rogelio López Cuenca. El Paraíso es de los extraños. In the catalogue of the La memoria del otro. Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, 2009, p. 104.
(5) The following pieces were also shown at the Wifredo Lam Center: The Tijuana Projection, (2001), The St. Louis Projection, (2004), Basel Projection (2005), I You See Something (2005), and Warsaw Projection (2006).

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