Saturday, February 4, 2017, the show entitled “José Yaque, Alluvione d’Arno” curated by Ilaria Mariotti opens at Villa Pacchiani in Santa Croce sull’Arno as part of the Know-how / Show-how a geography of relationships for Systems of vision / Systems of reality Arts Project. The show provides a series of reflections on questions regarding the sustainability of operations in the world today: on the life of objects and materials, the idea of recovery, the idea of waste as representative of the idea of the identity of our territories, and on all these processes in action. An exponent of Cuba’s creative production at international level, José Yaque is one of the artists selected for display in the Cuba Pavilion this year’s Venice Biennial. The artist will be presenting two large installations expressly conceived for inside and outside the Villa Pacchiani exhibition center: a set of paintings and drawings made over the last few years and a collection of new drawings linked directly to the this project.
“Know-how / Show-how, a geography of relationships for Systems of vision / Systems of reality” is the continuation of a path of development strongly shared by the municipal administrations of Pisa and Santa Croce sull’Arno – and in the first instance, by GALLERIA CONTINUA and Associazione Arte Continua, both of which have always dedicated ample attention on the relationship between art and territory, and both have acknowledged the need to involve artists in the process of reconsidering social questions first begun in 2013 with the intention of constructing a model of intervention for associating territories with international artists. Some of the characteristics of this year’s project are the promotion of training processes and the creation of occasions for encounter and exchange between the students of the Tuscan Academies of Fine Arts and José Yaque, a Cuban artist of consolidated success, with the objective of constructing an integrated system of artists and young people involved in detailed studies in territorial identity as expressed through productive and artistic excellence, production, resources, operativeness and collaboration between the public and private sectors. In this edition, the focus will be on the Santa Croce sull’Arno area, and the company of excellence with which José Yaque has worked closely is Waste Recycling, a Hera Group member that is deeply interested in art and art’s practices deemed one of the nation’s most prestigious and qualified in the disposal of industrial waste and the recovery and processing of scrap and waste from different production cycles.
During his stay in Santa Croce sull’Arno, José Yaque’s attention was captured by several elements that seemed expressive of certain themes and recalled his search at the same time. The first of these was the river: always true to itself but always changing on its unceasing flow to the sea. Yaque sees in the river the prime metaphor that informs this entire body of work but before that the philosophical key through which Man’s lives and actions may be read: you never bathe in the same river twice because it’s always different water. The two moments of bathing are also different, and are, continuously changing and evolving in the meantime. For the artist, the only element of continuity in the history of civilization is the continuous and unceasing flow of life, which is always different and read in their being a people, being part of a whole that is slowly, like the river, flowing. For Yaque, mutability is the phenomenological element most worthy of study, analysis, and depiction. Everything changes, but the changing of appearance is paradoxically its constant characteristic.
With this key to reading in hand, his experience at Waste Recycling was fundamental in constructing through human activity technology, research, and the visualization of this metaphor: piles of industrial waste sorted by material stacked in the storage yard for varyingly brief periods of time before being continuously depleted and then built again with the arrival of new material. The residue of human activities is interpreted in its continuous decomposition and re-composition in the same way as the incessant flowing of the river that bespeaks the activities of human beings and the things they consume and abandon at the same time. The visit to the Aquarno water treatment plant and the processing cycle that returns tanning waste water first to the Usciana Canal then to the Arno river once purified provided the artist with yet another building block in his construction and verification of an imaginary world founded on the circularity of the movement of things, water, materials, energy. Meetings with the community of immigrants that now form a significant part of the population of Santa Croce sull’Arno, notions of the town’s history, and a close contact with a company of excellence that makes leather for luxury fashion items provided further inspiration for reflections that eventually condensed around the image of “becoming”.
The two large installations expressly created by José Yaque for Villa Pacchiani, one outdoors at the entrance to the Villa, the other for the display area’s central hall embrace all these suggestions together. The ideas of flowing, of debris of perpetual change, of the catastrophic event that generates a new form of beauty are all concepts that emerge from the artist’s research are expressed in the two installations that encompass the life of the river, life, and the things of Man. Two different sets of paintings and drawings done over a few years - the fruit of other experiences - take up an entire hall of the display space: one is based on paintings of bridges in certain cities, the other regards the role played by art and its display. The paintings and drawings depicting bridges was done in 2013 during the artist’s residence in London and Warsaw, two cities defined by their rivers. The bridges that connect the two banks are privileged vantage points for recording the continuous flow of people parallel to the water’s movement, strategically located observatories in representing the metaphor of movement and evolution of humanity and its civilization. The same wing of Villa Pacchiani hosts a set of drawings (Devenir, all from 2014) depicting painting galleries and museums in which display structures are shown as the piers of bridges against which a flood’s floating debris and dead branches have piled up against and accumulated. This set of paintings and drawings mirrors a sign of continuity of the artist’s actions and search, in a continuing flow of thought and image in a new set of drawings focused on the photographic images collected in Santa Croce sull’Arno during the artist’s stay is featured in the other Villa’s other wing.
“José Yaque, Alluvione d’Arno” for Know-how / Show-how, a geography of relationships for Systems of Vision / Systems of Reality” will come to conclusion with a publication that documents the experience.
José Eduardo Yaque Llorente was born in Manzanillo, Cuba, in 1985. He lives and works in Havana. From 2004 to 2009, his work was displayed at numerous collective and personal shows in Havana. In 2010, his work was selected for Portugal’s First Contemporary Art Biennial and displayed at Wasps Artists’ Studios in Glasgow, Scotland. The next year he took part in a collective show in Madrid, and in 2012 he returned to Glasgow for the International Visual Arts Festival. The same year he won a residence in Warsaw, and his work was included at the collective show entitled “Fragmentos” in the Warsaw National Art Gallery’s Zacheta Project Room, and his first personal show outside Cuba was held at Zacheta National Art Gallery. In 2013, he took part in the collective show “Senderos de Bosque” at Emerson College/ Ruskin East G. Floor in Forest Row in England. His most recent personal shows include: 2015 Grabeda, Galleria Continua Les Moulins; Scavare, Galleria Continua San Gimignano; Magma, Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba “José Martí”, Havana; 2013 Millenium Bridge, Servando Galería de Arte, L’Avana; 2012 Wisla, Zacheta – Warsaw National Art Gallery; 2011 To be, Sala Covarrubias del Teatro Nacional, Havana. Recent participations in collective shows include: 2016 Cuarteto, Arte Continua Havana, Havana; Transhumance, CAB Art Center, Brussels; Ensemble, Arte Continua Havana, L’Avana; TÚ + YO = Nosotros, Arte Continua Havana, Havana; 2015 Wind and Art Don’t Care about Border, Metropolitan Art Society, Beirut; Anclados en el territorio, Arte Continua Havana, Havana; Follia Continua, (25 Years of Galleria Continua). Centquatre, Paris. From February 4 to March 5, 2017, David Gill Gallery in London will be presenting a personal show entitled “Tierra Madre” in collaboration with Galleria Continua. In May 2017, the artist will take part in the 57th Venice Biennial, at the Cuba Pavilion, Palazzo Loredan, Venice.
Waste Recycling is a Gruppo Hera company based in Santa Croce sull’Arno with the relationship between the world of art and creativity at heart. Scart is the company’s creative communication project developed to transform the mission of Waste Recycling (www.w-r.it) into practical activities capable of making a positive impact on the mentality of recovery and recycling. Using recovered materials exclusively and in collaboration with the students and teachers of the Academies of Fine Arts in Florence and Bologna, Waste Recycling creates original décor elements instilled with their own beauty born from scraps of used material and objects thrown ready to return to a new life and use.