Art Madrid'24 – INTERVIEW WITH CUBAN SCULPTOR GABRIEL RAÚL CISNEROS

Gabriel Raúl Cisneros

The young sculptor Gabriel Raúl Cisneros (1990, Las Tunas, Cuba) lives and works in Havana. The artist has been a disciple of the Cuban sculptor José Villa Soberón for more than five years, with whom he has created a considerable number of commemorative sculptures. He has participated in various group and personal exhibitions in Cuba and abroad. His work forms part of collections in Panama, Mexico, the United States and Lebanon. He won second prize in Post-it 6, a Cuban art competition for emerging artists.

Cisneros' sculptures from their morphology try to test the nature of reality, they show themselves to us in an unexpected way and place us in the middle of a twisted mental game, which inevitably catches our attention and our empathy. "I think that between perception and reflection is where these works find their place, it is there to tell us something about our gaze, about the way we expect reality to be shown to us".

The series that the artist is presenting at Art Madrid is entitled "El ocio y la embestida" . In this series, the pedestal's mission is not only to raise the work off the ground and emphasise its upright character, but also to express the idea that the work is a heavy, solid and massive volume, capable of surviving the passage of time. But the pedestal is also the altar on which the deeds of the heroes are commemorated or the events that gave rise to the elevation are remembered: the collective memory of the citizens is venerated on this altar. But these are times marked by the end of the myths that generated these works, and the loss of the pedestal in contemporary sculpture reflects the absence of the commemorative will that characterises traditional sculpture.


Interview:


Tell us about your creative process.

In general, the material I use in my works is polyester resin, a material that interests me a lot because it is very versatile, offers many possibilities and is perfectly suited to my work process. It is a work process that usually starts with an idea. You walk down the street and things occur to you that later mature inside, on the work table.

My sculptures are preceded by a drawing. Once I have the idea of the work, I work with a model, to better visualise the posture, and to help me with photography when constructing the piece, from there we move on to the workshop work where we start with a metal frame that will support the material on which the work is modelled, and this is the creative part of the process, this is where the sculpture takes its shape and acquires all the details, this is when I give it its final form. Then several technicians get involved who make plaster moulds of the piece and laminate the resin, the mould is broken and the resin figure comes out, which is retouched and then we move on to the assembly and placement.

What are you currently working on?

I'm currently working on a series of sculptures that take commemorative sculpture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a reference. What I'm doing is taking the sculpture as an object and decontextualising it, that is, taking it out of its usual location, the park, the pedestal, the city environment, and bringing it into the gallery.

I am interested in how the sculpture, this specific type of sculpture, is charged with a different content, the original content, inside the gallery space where, of course, by changing the position, the situation is re-signified. I really like the way in which the space where the sculpture is placed conditions the object, the sculpture on the pedestal, in the park, has a different meaning and character to the one that the same object might have inside the gallery in a different situation to the one we normally find it in. I'm very interested in how the spectator's view of the same object can change depending on the space that surrounds it.


You're participating in the fair for the first time, what do you expect from Art Madrid?

The possibility of participating in Art Madrid is for me a door that opens to the European public. It's my first time participating in the fair, the first time my work will be in Spain and in Europe. Of course it's something that excites me, to see how the pieces work in a context outside the Cuban national context.

Gabriel Raúl Cisneros

Ocio, 2021

Resina

15 x 15cm

You usually work with medium and large format sculpture. Is it possible that with these formats you achieve a more real and closer connection with the spectator?

I usually work with medium and large format sculptures, but on this occasion, I'm specifically interested in small format sculpture, in this case models of works that I will later make on a larger scale. Because in this format, I can rehearse the situation in which I want to place the sculptural object. As it is a smaller format, it allows me, without risking too much, to make visible all the possibilities that this object offers me, and by placing it in different situations and positions, meanings emerge.

Gabriel Raúl Cisneros participates for the first time in Art Madrid with the gallery Collage Habana, junto a los artistas Frank González, Luis Enrique Camejo y Yohy Suárez.





Francesca Poza. Courtesy of the artist.

ARTE & PALABRA. CONVERSATIONS WITH CARLOS DEL AMOR

Thread is one of the most seemingly fragile materials in existence, yet a combination of threads can be indestructible. It is the triumph of fragility over brute force.

Among its many virtues, thread has its meaning, both real and imagined. It is a word that oozes poetry and makes us think of following a trail, sometimes infinite. Francesca Poza (Mataró, 1965) adds the written word to the many virtues of thread, giving her works a firmness that is always delicate but almost impossible to break. She weaves between letters and memory, pieces that seek to establish what has been lived, to leave a trace in a world that is increasingly ephemeral, more fleeting, more liquid, more elusive. In his work, poetry, literature and time intertwine in a harmonious way, resulting in creations of beautiful originality that are as subtle as they are powerful.

Perhaps Francesca has managed to give an answer to what Carmen Laforet wondered in "Nada", when she said: Who can understand the thousand threads that unite the souls of men and the reach of their words?

The poet reborn. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

If you had to define yourself as an artist, in one sentence, how would you define yourself?

I could define myself as a multidisciplinary artist who poetizes matter.

The thread even predates the advent of writing, perhaps it's not exact, but I like to think that it began to "write" by spinning... Then came the written word, and in this encounter full of history and ancestors is your work. Spun words, sounds good, doesn't it?

Spun words sound good, the subtlety of the thread that organizes time, the connection, the continuity, the rhythm of literature without reading, because it is a very recurrent phrase in my work, that as the weft is made and unmade, the work and the poetry reappear.

As if they were chains. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

Why does everyone say that you are unclassifiable? Don't you think we live for labels? It's nice to be difficult to classify. Do you feel like a "freak"?

No, I don't feel like a freak. I like the fact that I am unclassifiable. It's difficult to define me as a sculptor, an engraver, or a weaver. I try to make poetry with the material I have, to make the fragile speak to us, to transport us; the paper as matter and the thread as symbol, to penetrate us.

When one stops in front of your work one has two sensations, well three, one of tranquility, the other two are paradoxical because the first impression is one of fragility, however, after a while you realize that these "threads" are strong because they are united and have made common cause. It's a bit like so many things in life, isn't it?

Yes, that's really what I'm looking for, to express peace and tranquility above all. We are going through very difficult times and I like to express the good that people have inside us.

Testament of Oscar Wilde. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

Memory is an intimate territory that sometimes betrays us, and forgetting is its main enemy. Is your work against forgetting?

Yes, the art of remembering and forgetting is a recurring theme in my work, because I had and still have the idea that we have to be something, that something has to remain in our memory. So I try to create a poetics that is embodied in different aspects of creativity. You could say that this essence of a series of needs, of leaving a permanent record, is because we don't want to be forgotten, and this is a way I have of expressing myself.

Your work is very poetic... What do you think is impossible to poeticise?

There is nothing impossible, nothing that cannot be poeticised. And yes, my work is poetic, why weave, what for? Poetry and weaving travel in the imagination and come together. Visual art, manual art, in short: poetry.

Music of broken windows.Hahnemühle paper 300gr. 2023.

The thread leaves a trace, the words leave a trace... Your work leaves a trace. Where do you want it to go?

Words leave traces and I want my work to leave traces: the feelings and sensations of the viewer. That the work of art is not just for decoration, but something that when you wake up in the morning, you look at it and you feel different again, that it leaves you with something to feel.

Where do you think your work is going?

My work itself, I don't know where it's going, it leads the way, it guides me day after day. I would like to be able to continue weaving poems that travel in the imagination, to enter and leave through the multiple paths that the material and the feelings take me.