New views of the same Havana

If you are a lover of plastic arts and visit the hotel Nacional de Cuba right now, you can delight yourself with works that have our capital as a point of view: Havana that they have given me, Havana that I leave you , an exhibition by the artists Denys San Jorge and Sonia Almaguer, is an opportunity to rediscover emblematic buildings of the capital with a visual identity that identifies them as art makers.

About these 14 pieces and the meaning of an exhibition that proposes an aesthetic different from what is known, where the colors kid spokespersons of the past and the present in dialogue with an architecture that is very familiar to us, we talked exclusively with the young San Jorge.— Why merge photography and painting? — In one of those days of taking photography together, we came up with a proposal that would unite both disciplines; go beyond the capture of the snapshot, expand it to another support and manipulate it from other techniques of the plastic arts.”We wanted to break with the traditional, with the easy photographic take, and do something in common from our knowledge, Sonia contributed the photography and I the collage technique, which I have been working on other proposals and it was also the most appropriate, due to the possibilities of composition that it offers, allowing us to build our own city and present to the spectators a sense of dislocation and rediscovery of their Havana, the one that they walk daily and sometimes do not perceive, due to the very routine of life, with details of its architecture and ornaments aesthetic.) National Capitol.“From the beginning, this project was conceived as a four-hand proposal. Everything has been calculated, taking into account every detail, every cut and even the color chosen to recreate the last atmosphere.”— Tell us about the creation of each of the collages. — It has been a process of months. Taking the photos took us many days of travel. We even had to go to the same building at different times in order to capture other light atmospheres, so we worked in unison on several buildings. Then we went through the process of selecting and digitally editing each photograph, until it was time to cut and paste, as planned in the composition.” It turned out to be a very traditional work, in which we have mutually contributed to each other, since we were discovering motifs and forms that were sometimes imposed by the building itself. This is how collages arose, composing and decomposing that “other” Havana, now fragmented and united with the use of acrylic, color and the effects of textures”.— Why exhibit at the hotel Nacional de Cuba?— The site for the exhibition was given to us by the series itself, since one of the works worked on is the hotel Nacional, and of the intervened buildings, it is one of those that keeps a very special magic between its period architecture and its cultural environment , because there is a large movement of personalities, visitors and guests from various parts of the world in its spaces, without ruling out the happy coincidence that it is one of the venues for the New Latin American Film Festival, something that also excited us, because it is our series an artistic proposal that goes from the figurative to the abstract, like a kind of stage or movie set”.— Why did you select these properties and not others? — In this sample, 14 Havana sites can be observed. However, only the first part

of the chosen ones is child, since this is a project in the middle of the construction process and new buildings will appear .”Our starting point was the Capitol, in a kind of allegory at kilometer zero in this series. From there begins the tour of emblematic places of Havana architecture: the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, the Focsa building, La Havana Cathedral, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the Castillo del Morro, the Habana Libre hotel, the Bacardí building, the Nacional hotel, the boardwalk and the hundred-year-old University of Havana. University of Havana. “There is a piece that is a tribute to the Saratoga hotel, because it was already photographed when it suffered the accident that deprived us of its majestic architecture. Other less worked places have emerged in the march and that we feel interested in immortalizing, such as Avenida de Paula with its Church and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan.” The tour of the series is accompanied by a QR code, whose objective is to provide the viewer, with an easy scan from their phone, basic information about the project, the authors and a section dedicated to the works, with a brief historical description of each of the sites worked”. — How to contribute new readings to a Havana that we all know? — Exactly that age the challenge. We were discovering that in this Havana that we have been lucky enough to live or visit, the game of shapes and colors prevails, in permanent interaction with simple and sometimes imperceptible elements contributed by its inhabitants, so that to obtain that new, dreamlike city, we wanted, we wanted to deconstruct it and build it over and over again from the possibilities offered by this technique, from multiple photographic shots among which the low-angle shots, perspectives, rhythm and the enhancement of ornamental details stand out. Avenida e Iglesia de Paula.” We also played with a whimsical edition: by changing the colors at will, the same buildings appeared as in another context. Hence, these buildings open or close on themselves and surprise the viewer by focusing or illuminating focal points that usually pass unnoticed.”Once exposed to the public, the magic lives precisely in the time it takes for the viewer to locate himself, find out where he is standing, readjust his gaze and discover the features of the common between the new visuality that is proposed”.— And how did you achieve originality in such a recurring theme in art as the reflection of the capital? — Multiple exhibitions and cultural projects dedicated to the Cuban capital have been created from art. Havana has been and will continue to be a subject of interest for artists of any manifestation, since its architectural richness, its folklore and its kid life are so intense and varied that they invite the display of multiple interpretations.”Even so, she has much more cloth to cut: it all depends on the side from which you look at her or feel her, or the artistic techniques possessed by those interested in singing, drawing or interpreting her.”We did not lack inspiration, and the purpose of obtaining our own city, reinterpreted and whimsical, was the primary premise to surprise ourselves with these games of shapes and colors, first ourselves and then our audience. The creative process It was intense and very gratifying, since in that sort of new city we were able to ponder figures and details on a main plane; or work on a work as extensive as the boardwalk in a two-dimensional plane in which the sea, the city and its main actors converge. : the people who enjoy the benefits provided by this outdoor sofa privilege.”

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