Monday, June 11, 2012

Elviz López at Ateliers '89 Dominicanessen Straat 34, Oranjestaad Aruba. a review by craniv boyd.

Elviz López at Ateliers '89 Dominicanessen Straat 34, Oranjestaad Aruba. a review by craniv boyd.

Brown and grey lizards scuttle to and fro, over white coral sand, and red tiles, crossing between overgrown wild grass. Hundred year old Mangroves and divi divi trees, shelter nesting tropical birds, are toilets for stray hounds and cover what few places of shade to be found on a desert cactus strewn island.  

This above may sound like settings for tales from the bush; but rather is a humble listing of some of the prominent things to be found other than North and South American tourists, in  Oranjestaad, the capital of Aruba, a tropical island, on the lesser Antilles. Orajestaad  is home to, Ateliers '89 a centre for contemporary art, founded by, Elvis López, a contemporary Aruba Artist who is based in Aruba. Locations for a multi use, Artist in residence / art education center / exhibition hall, could not be more ideal for Ateliers '89 is centrally located, in a former school complex build originally in the 1920s, 15 minutes from an international airport, on  a desert island, with long barrier reefs, with year round sunshine, out side of the hurricane belt. That Ateliers '89 is a remarkable grassroots community institution which is committed to supporting, both the making of current art by international young artists, and the development and education of people living in Aruba.  Ateliers '89  encourages an exchange via workshops, between respective young artists and designers who conduct the workshops, and the Arubans who register, out of interest for  the workshops, and a proven success rate, and excellent publicity for the courses.  Workshops held recently included the disciplines of  fashion design workshop, along with ceramics, performance, Video-photography and painting. In general the workshops, culminate with an exhibition of the work that was fabricated during the lessons. 

Ateliers '89 the brainchild and initiative of Elvis López, an Aruban artist, a participant in the Sao Paulo Biennial, who studied, and then taught at the acclaimed Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Elvis López is an accomplished artist from the Caribbean, who's far reaching artwork inclusive of installations, drawings, videos, as such needs to be studied. Two art installations by Elvis López which I saw and found to be of exceptional interest were;


A blue painted field a surface of ultramarine, green and yellow hues and longhand letter-forms above, written up side down from left to right. on the surface of the blue field, two protrusions, bandaged in white gauze, evocative of mummies or lepers, the dead or the infirm. Underneath the white bandages like fibers, is the color yellow, porous, sponge like and plush. These forms look anthropomorphic and in their soft edges,lumpy and globular are strange. One wants to reconcile and locate, is it human, beast or mineral that is wrapped up and affixed to the blue wall, but to no avail. Looking for the meaning behind the lower case letters, if one takes the time to read them up side down -e-nó-ta-di -a-ta-a offers little in the way of aid, or relief. What could this be? two, shrouded forms soft, emerging or would it be receding in a field of moody blue, words in roman script, flipped in a way to hamper but not completely impinge on their legibility, words that in their separation at and with each syllable seem to short to be words indeed. It is an artwork with the title of E no ta di e ta a. Like much of the high quality art of Elvis López , E no ta di e ta a, both reveals and veils an iconography of specific to the lesser Antilles. It could be seen as part of a system of image making that is materials intensive.  E no ta di e ta a  is an artwork authored by a visual intelligence which is well versed in both symbols of current art and image making practice in the broadest sense. Moreover it remains a large format artwork created by an artists hand, one with technical finesse and true mastery of sculptural form.       


A upturned rectangular table, covered in white lace, with a large elliptical sterling platter collides with the surface of the upturned table. The table is resting on its narrow end. A silver platter, that collides with the surface of the table at an 30° incline, is engraved with words: Ami ta wordo carga de teblachi plata. These words are etched, and trace the basin of the oval platter, the ridge of the platter is ribboned.  These are elements of an installation constructed with a proverb in Papiamento, one of the official languages of Aruba. The installation features the saying engraved in Papiamento, on a fine piece of silver ware, and the title of the artwork is  Ami ta wordo carga de teblachi plata, (as the comers to the family are always at first Carried in a silver tray until....) The table itself is covered with fine white belgian lace table cloths that were, the epitome of good taste for entertaining in Aruba. The saying along with the visual components encode, a possible proverbial story specific to Aruba and the Caribbean, a proverb concerning frustrated expectations; of a family laying out their finest and best silver, in an effort to impress the beaux of their daughter, thinking him to be well heeled. When realizing that their daughters choice is not what they had in mind, the silver starts to fly. this instillation is on instance and there are many engraved plates with proverbs in Papiamento which Elvis López has created. Modes of narration are sealed in the artwork of Elvis López , many levels to his stacked installations. the Local cultural specific, the current installation art methods, the visual associations that people from the Caribbean and foreigners might have, when looking at Belgian lace and silver serving platters are definitively charged.  by caniv boyd.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.