Parallel stories by Mable Poblet

It was an extraordinary experience, personally and professionally. In a certain way, it also made me reflect on my work, on how I have developed it up to now, and the way in which I should project myself toward the future. It was very stimulating to have been selected to participate in one of the most important visual arts events in the world, along with such a highly recognized group of creators.

Loredan Palace, the venue of the Cuban participation, was also a pleasant surprise. It is a magnificent building with many possibilities located on a central square in Venice. The fact that it is an old library with all its great rooms and shelves of books gave a distinctive meaning to our works.

My piece, Escala de valores (Scale of Values), originated from an idea I began to develop with a view to the past Salon of Contemporary Cuban Art. Later, considering how to show it in Venice, I decided to ask several Cuban families from different neighborhoods to cut out articles from the national press that they considered important or attractive in some way, and then create sort of a specific story for each of them. In the end they were very redundant or repetitive, because the editorial standpoint, the news, and the images of all our newspapers is very similar. The narratives created in this way, similar and parallel, made up a distinctive portrait of who we are as nation, as groups, and as individuals.

In Venice, it was necessary to change my original plan for the display. I had to reduce the number of strips with the stories by half because the allotted space had a very low stanchion. That also made it impossible to have the public walk through the space. But those are the challenges imposed by the available space, and I think the solution we found was acceptable. All in all, I am more pleased with the participation, with the experience I lived, than with the piece itself.

After the opening I spent some time visiting the central exhibitions and some of the national pavilions, particularly in The Arsenal and The Gardens. The German exhibition was awesome (it won the Golden Lion award), and I found the French and the Russian exhibitions to be impressive. In general, I noticed a strong tendency to feature the craftsmanship and all those procedures that identify the artists with processes of manipulation and creation of objects, collections, and frameworks. As in all events of this nature, it was impossible to see all of it in a few days.

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