532 Gallery is pleased to announce Destruktion, an exhibition of painting, sculpture, and artist books by Alberto Alejandro Rodríguez, centered on the different forms that ruins can take in our modern society. This is the artist’s first exhibition outside Cuba.
In his consideration of ruins as a byproduct of indifference, as we reflexively interact with the space around us, Rodríguez explores them not simply as partially or completely destroyed architecture but as a changing structure woven into the urban fabric. The series of works in Destruktion highlight the implications of ruins for today’s society, negative from a practical point of view and positive from a poetic point of view.
Entropy is the theory that all energy in an isolated system moves eventually towards uniformity. In urbanism and social studies, it explains how throughout history men have tried to achieve the perfect city, for example by creating what are commonly known as Phalanterys or phalanges, self-sufficient communities based on unity of action and harmonious collaboration, which in time will suffer from some event that puts in crisis the utopic dream. Rodríguez’s paintings, constructed by stencil on wood with acrylic painting, represents a compilation of ruins -- places where every possible crisis has already happened yet representing a form of absolute state of uniformity, a part of the civics laws established to manage the chaos to ultimately achieve the perfect city.
For that the world mirror exists it is necessary first that the world has a shape. Once it is abandoned, reclaimed by time and nature, how much of a building remains? Arising from this question, these sculptures, composed of white paper with insets of interiors of a building in ruins, reflect these shapes, based on fragments of architecture, buildings located most of the time outside of big cities, next to freeways, hidden in the landscape and reduced to abstract pieces.
Prolog is a series of artist books that show possible space intervention projects. A scale model of a Disinfection Laboratory of Documental Patrimony sited in Old Havana, Cuba, is constructed inside each book. On the floor of the scale model is an inverted, smaller and white version of this lab, like a reflected image, but with small variations in correspondence with the shape of a heliport that was started in Batista’s government (1940-1944) but never finished. This heliport remained for decades as an abandoned space, the same space that today is occupied by the Disinfection Laboratory. The project tries to confront two different conceptions of the same space, one as it is at this time, the other that exists only as a frustrated idea.
“Destruktion,” a term coined by Heidegger that influenced Jacques Derrida’s philosophy of Deconstruction, refers to dismantling a phenomenon in order to analyze and comprehend it. Every concept has a deconstructable metaphysical aspect, and this project deconstructs the metaphysics of ruin. The works encapsulates scaled models of the interior space of a house in ruins, constructed from materials taken from the actual ruins it references. The existential object introduces a dialogue between a fragmented destroyed space and its metaphysic poetical component.
Alberto Alejandro Rodríguez (1995, Havana, Cuba), graduated 2015 from Fine Arts Academy San Alejandro, Havana, is currently working on his graduation thesis University Fine Arts (ISA), Havana, Cuba.