Museo de Arte de Ponce entered the age of video art with an exhibit titled 11 in 2011, comprised of 11 short videos by artists from Puerto Rico, the United States, Singapore, and Australia. The site is located at www.museoarteponce.org/11en2011
With 11 in 2011, the Museo de Arte de Ponce is expanding beyond its physical galleries and, in fact, beyond the need for visitors to actually visit the museum, while at the same time acting on a philosophy of creating new connections between art, the artist community, and the public in general. Dr Agustín Arteaga, director and CEO of Museo de Arte de Ponce notes that the boom in the digital economy and in new technologies has changed the language of audiovisual communication, and consequently the language of the art video. The museums initiative in putting videos on exhibition on its webpage is a move toward opening spaces for discussion and dissemination of this remarkable, and thriving, genre in modern art.
The open house will continue with a screening of a selection of videos in the Puerto Rico Garden, and will close with music programmed especially for the evening. The purpose of the open house is to cultivate a taste for video art and to bring a younger public into contact with the museums collections, which include a number of recently acquired videos. The event is free of charge.
Among the pieces that make up 11 for 2011, and that will be shown during the open house on August 25, is Marta Mabel Pérez Citizenship Test, which belongs to the museums permanent collection and shows the complexities and paradoxes associated with the issue of immigration. The artist was inspired by recent debates on the subject, and she structures her video through profoundly thoughtful stories that reflect on these current affairs. Another video to be shown is Citizen: The Wolf and the Nanny by Cliff Evans, an Australian filmmaker living in New York. Evans has created an animated film full of metaphors and made up of still images and videos that he found on the internet. He returns again and again to the image of a wolf, a figure that can be seen as a primitive, menacing creature, while the other character, the nanny, suggests domesticity, security, and order. He has chosen contrasting images missiles in the sky above the figure of a nanny jogging through a luxuriant landscape in order to speak of citizens who inhabit the apocalyptic imagination of the early twenty-first century.
As a result of the great interest in 11 in 2011 that has been shown by the students of the Catholic University in Ponce, the CUs president, Dr. Jorge Iván Vélez Arocho, has called for a walk, called Crossing the Street, to be held on September 1 at 10:30 am. Participants will visit their closest neighbor, the Museo de Arte de Ponce, and will be accompanied by music and street performance. The walkers will be greeted by Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the museums director and chief executive officer, and museum staff, who will lead the group in a series of guided tours of the collections, a preview of the videos, and a celebration of the achievements that have resulted from a collaborative alliance between the two institutions.
The other videos included in the exhibit are Veiled Shadows, by Stephanie Dodes (U.S.); The Well (Le puit), by Maya Erdelyi (U.S.); Nothing is Forever, by Yeo Lee Nah (Singapore); Generating Paradise, by Carlos Ruiz-Valarino (Puerto Rico); Morning Breeze, by José Soto (Puerto Rico); Solitary Moon, by Eva Tang (Singapore); Locust, by Victric Thng (Singapore); Wrath, by Guillermo A. Vázquez (Puerto Rico); and Birthday Girl, by Alison Ward (U.S.).
Arlette de la Serna, assistant curator at the Museo de Arte de Ponce and curator of this show, says that video art is a medium that has become very popular, and its now highly accepted among both artists and the general public in Puerto Rico. We are very pleased to be able to share these works with an audience that will be even larger thanks to the internet. We want to offer new alternatives for enjoying art through technology, while at the same time recognizing the many contemporary filmmakers and artists who are realizing their most ambitious creative ideas in video. The museum hopes to continue to include this manifestation of art in both its collection and its programming.
One interesting note about this exhibit is the promise of sequels, since the title, 11 in 2011, tells us that there will be more shows in the years to come, with more videos each year to keep pace with the last two numerals in the date. The title for next year will be 12 in 2012, then 13 in 2013, and so on.
Brief description of the 11 videos in 11 in 2011
Citizen: The Wolf and the Nanny (2009), Cliff Evans (Australian, living in New York City), 6:05
Cliff Evans offers this animated loop filled with metaphors and composed solely of still images and videos downloaded from the internet. The artist creates contrasting images a spacesuit hovering above a Garden of Eden; missiles in the sky above a nanny jogging in a luxuriant landscape in order to speak of the early-twenty-first-century utopian yet apocalyptic imagination. Within the sequences of Citizen: The Wolf and the Nanny, Evans returns again and again to the figure of the wolf, which can be seen as a primitive, menacing force, while the other title character, the nanny, suggests domestication, security, and order.
Morning Breeze (2011), José Soto (Puerto Rico), 0:30
José Soto has taken images from Fox Televisions Good Day New York and edited out all the words, leaving just the breath that precedes each phrase spoken on the show. I realized that there was a sound pattern generated by the reporters breathing that could be extracted through editing. What I wanted to do was create a new experience for the viewer, one that could reveal the moment of truth: the moment when this public figure is forced, by the need to breathe, to be a human being and a part of nature. The artist employs images from the mass media as a strategy for playfully showing us our inescapable need for two things: breathing as the source of life, and the morning news.
Generating a Paradise (2010), Carlos Ruiz-Valarino (Puerto Rico), 4:12
Carlos Ruiz-Valarino approaches the subject of paradise from an aesthetic yet sociological point of view, as evidenced in the titles play on words. The artist is interested in the idea of paradise as constructed out of the deepest well of our desires, emphasizing the obviously ephemeral nature of our fantasies. In Generating a Paradise, he uses a slow, deliberately-paced sequence that invites us to contemplate the lovely beachscape in much the same way we look at a photograph.
Nothing is Forever (2010), Yeo Lee Nah (Singapore), 1:20
Yeo Lee Nah presents a video in which we see the most ordinary actions like pouring water into a glass or cutting up food on a plate tweaked against the logic of depletion and consumption, showing infinity at work. The artist uses these everyday objects and situations as a way of lightening the complexity behind the theory of infinity.
Wrath (2003), Guillermo A. Vázquez (Puerto Rico), 1:00
Guillermo A. Vázquez presents us with an everyday object a bottle of soda through which he narrates the process of development of the deadly sin Wrath. The artist takes advantage of the chemical phenomenon produced inside the bottle to illustrate the visceral, emotional, and finally uncontainable evolution of wrath.
Citizenship Test (2010), Marta Mabel Pérez (Puerto Rico), 30:00
Marta Mabel Pérez examines the burning question of immigration by pointing out the complexities within, and paradoxes between, local and global interests. She is inspired by everyday life, and her video takes shape in profoundly thoughtful stories and confessions. In this way Pérez skillfully blurs the boundaries between art, the public space, and the personal space. Citizenship Test is a part of the permanent collection of the Museo de Arte de Ponce.
Veiled Shadows (Psychologist Office and Interrogation Scenes) (2010), Stephanie Dodes (New York City), 4:00
The museum presents one of the nine channels that make up Stephanie Dodes installation. Veiled Shadows explores the destabilization of identity, notions of beauty, and the power of gestural language. The artist employs multiple points of view on her characters simultaneously: on the one hand they behave naturally, while on the other, they represent the externalization of the protagonists agitated psyche. Veiled Shadows (Psychologist Office and Interrogation Scenes) is performed by two actresses in a scene in which glamour and the absurd become another metaphor for that externalization. The artist informs us of bizarre, absurd social codes and iconic relationships.
Solitary Moon (2010), Eva Tang (Singapore), 2:09
Eva Tang was inspired to create this moving work by a quotation from F. Scott Fitzgeralds 1925 novel The Great Gatsby: I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others, young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.
Locust (2003), Vitric Thng (Singapore), 3:22
In this lyrical film, Victric Thng relives a fleeting moment in the past when two strangers embraced and shared a profound connection. The artist offers a sublime glimpse into the nature of human relations and the desire for intimacy.
Birthday Girl (2003), Alison Ward (Gainesville, Florida, living in New York City), 4:00
Alison Ward reinterprets herself as a birthday girl, decked out in a rococo-aesthetic dress and wig, who, à la Tom Jones, indulges in a sensual feast of 30 birthday cupcakes. But as she eats . . . 15, 16, 17, . . . 25 she becomes nauseated and can hardly go on. By the time she gets to cupcake number 30, she is in tears and has hardly enough energy to blow out the candle. This video is a flamboyant performance and a clever commentary on the inevitability and tragicomedy of the passage of time. In her work, Ward presents us with a world inhabited by masked characters, many disguised as icons of popular culture, in order to illustrate complex ideas and emotions.
The Well (Le puit, 2010), Maya Erdelyi (New York City), 2:23
Erdelyi illustrates a French love song through a combination of stop-motion film, puppets, and actors. The lyrics involve a shepherdess who follows a pink cloud that rains a magic elixir down into a well (le puit). She looks into the magical pink water and sees her future and her potential bliss. She sees wonderful things but then is frightened and runs home. The next morning she changes her mind and decides to go back and drink the elixir. Alas, the magical liquid has all evaporated in the sun. The ending, however, offers us hope. Erdelyi takes her inspiration from dreams, memories, and profound experiences. Her work explores the cycles of life and the realms of consciousness through hybrid animations: handmade papier-maché puppets in digital worlds.
For information on the launch event, please call 787-840-1510 or visit