SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
cículos de difracción
3 / 24 / 2003
MARIANNE DE TOLENTINO
VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ART CRITICS (AICA)
In recent decades, the history of sculpture has been particularly disturbing in the Western world, iconoclastic and fertile at the same time, changing definitions and proposals. In the Caribbean, its evolution has been calmer, but there are great differences depending on the country, and there is no doubt that Puerto Rico is one of the most dynamic, if not the most advanced in this matter, both aesthetically and in the techniques used.
One of those sculptors in the prime of his talent, both established by a brilliant career and promising by future prospects, is called Heriberto Nieves. We greatly appreciate the luck of having him in Santo Domingo today, on the occasion of the exhibitions, and even more so how pleased we are that he has produced here the large-format works presented at the Museum of Modern Art. If Puerto Rican artists - we think especially of María Elena Perales - had cast their bronzes in the Dominican Republic - we believe that none had previously fully executed the pieces within the framework of a Dominican industrial workshop.
From what we have just mentioned regarding the exhibition in the Museum and the making of the sculptures, two observations are in order. Despite its size, the basement of our artistic institution is a very different setting from a public space and is perceived in a different way. In a square, for example, the work is integrated into an open urban environment and the sky, it does not necessarily capture the attention of the passerby, but rather contributes to their environmental well-being. In the gallery inside the museum, the gaze is concentrated and occupies a much larger proportional volume, both on the floor and on the walls.
The intrinsic quality of the pieces - or their failed gigantism - stands out... In the case of Heriberto Nieves, this new scale allows us to enjoy more the form, the color, the detail, and consciously accommodate our optical reception, feel more as much their energy charges as a master bill.
The show, spectacular and powerful, of Diffraction Circles, uses a record of assemblies and materials, consistent with architecture, machinery, heavy operatives, and yet it works, visually and emotionally, as a human fact, or more well as art made by man for man. These minimalist forms of enormous size in our environment, these impressive lines of geometric precision, these even brutal volumes, become, at second glance, organic ensembles that throb with life and learn a pluralized perception: vision, touch, movement, tinkle of vibrating circles.
Then, integrating chromaticism, adding shades and gradations to the primary color - blue, red, yellow - the sequence demonstrates how this contemporary and technological art can capture light, lyrically dematerializing quasi-monumental structures and creating unexpected poetics. The Caribbean, its luminosity, its sun, are present and belie the absolute character of abstraction that they usually attribute to geometry and minimalism. There is no doubt that we associate, geographically and climatically, the polychromy of "Circles of Diffraction" to our Antillean region.