Things in place

The installation, as a work developed in situ, discursively determined, and with a more or less defined presence in the field of contemporary arts in the Dominican Republic, presents us with a different reality. 


This face-to-face ambiguity refers to intensity flows in its production and visibility. From the creation of works of an activist nature and breaking away from the status quo of national artistic production, to the most intimate - and paradoxically collective - approaches, successes and explorations take place from various exhibition spaces and art competitions.

When I refer to the visibility and production flows of the installation, I do so precisely to establish its intermittency in the territories of action of contemporary Dominican art. Along with this, the incidence of this way of producing meaning in the current state of things within contemporary art must also be considered. The recent history of this manifestation has revealed that it has activated new gears in the production and staging of the “work of art”, proposing other relationships between space, power –institutional, public, personal–, representation and materiality. By assuming space as an essential and significant part of the work and allowing the visibility of it as a defined place, the installation called into question the traditional division between work and place of exhibition, it gave another meaning to what Foucault called the “architecture of enclosure ”13 –prisons, housing, spaces for socialization, zoos, etc.–. Hand in hand with the installation, the artists began to assume these spatial modules as means of production and control of subjectivity. A good example of this would be the pieces by Raúl T. Morilla, with multiple elements and concepts operating at the same time in a corner of the museum space.

Precisely the theme of the “architecture of the confinement” directs me to the works Encuentro de poder - which was presented in the exhibition Landings tres, at the León Center - and Surface - exhibited at the XXV National Biennial of Visual Arts -, by Patricia Castillo (Patutus). In the first, the artist tries, in an installation act, to contain the water, but this containment is directed towards the process of commodification of water itself, the notion of insularity and the “powers” ​​of the precious liquid. In the second, he builds a pile of second skins - dressing room - which in turn acts as a germination surface.

Another important avenue of approach that emerges from the current installation is that of humor, sarcasm and the evocation of realities and identities in a scathing way. The work Canibalismo, carried out collectively by Natalia Ortega and Patricia Castillo (Patutus), shows an organized mandala of ceramic containers, each one with pieces of hair that could well refer to the consideration of hair as a vital significant element for people and autophagy present in these processes.

On the other hand, the collective Shampoo -now called Picnic- makes a visual "apologetic" to the "Dominican plastic arts", referring in turn to the strange habit of calling the visual arts visual arts and the national arts scene as a set of series productions.

Taken from the Book Braiding a History in Progress, Contemporary Dominican Art in the Context of the Caribbean

Sara Hermann, Historian and Art Researcher
Leon Center Advisor

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