The Horizon of Memory
By Ricardo Alberto Perez
One of the things that captivates the contemporary spectator in the field of visual arts is the capacity shown by some artists to expose conflicts through assemblies, as if they were pieces of a puzzle that fit together to express (understood also in subjective terms), capable of articulating a story within which a certain collective demand is addressed, often worked from the grotto of intimacy, thus appearing in public with the distinctive mark of a specific face.
I would like to place Harold Ramirez, born in Havana in 1997, in this type of register, who bases his creative processes on an unquestionable conceptual vocation that leads him to store in his memory passages and objects that will later become part of his works, which stand out for the clarity of the ideas expressed in them. His work also highlights the connection between languages; the very mobility of the concept places the supports in a field of collaboration, democratizing their functions and reinforcing them with the encouragement of a palpable creative freedom.
Here the matter emanates from the environment and enters the work, this may be more local or extended to other limits, but in its jaws it refers us to the causticity of anthropology that with its drill leaves a hole from which the tensions will grow raising the temperature of the process and of the piece itself. In this way, he risks using these tensions as a primordial argument, inserting them into a story that carries the inheritances and does not reject the ruptures. Entering through the aforementioned hole, which has wider and narrower zones, can be transformed into a useful and attractive exercise of reflection.
Harold Ramirez delves into the identity of the places he travels through, and with the findings obtained he restores it, following up on the rebellion of a sensitive and transmitting nerve, thus accessing the difficult adventure of uniting what, fractured by diverse inclemencies, was dispersed.
His work goes through an exemplary patience and tenacity, this process goes far beyond the moment in which he concretes the work, it is preceded by an interval where it is necessary to collect a good amount of material, objects, which will be essential to meet the demands of the ideas and conflicts represented. In his piece Calas (Cleats) (2017-2018), with an installationist spirit, this vocation is clearly appreciated, there is an indisputable accumulation of vestiges taken from a cemetery that now behave as a multitude of voices or symbols.
All this approach to the density of death both in the sense of a palpable reality as well as in the metaphorical, has several expressive levels in his work; the journey to which he astutely summons us, seems to have its starting point in the protagonism of drawing. This is confirmed by his piece Lastre (Ballast) (2017), integrated at the time of its exhibition by 128 small-format drawings that when joined together create a striking image that represents a group of sculptures of the Colon Cemetery (in Havana), installed there in homage to the deceased, so Harold Ramirez, perhaps unconsciously, and drawing from the same chosen scenario, is introduced into the biography of beings who some time ago ceased to exist physically.
Within the same theme he goes a little further, on this occasion he uses the support of digital photography, in the work Una línea (One Line) (2018), one hundred images of tombs, he shares with the viewer a substantial horizon that we can enrich from the degree of perception we have on the subject, the artist skillfully appropriates the traces left by the passage of time and with these textures he challenges us and challenges himself.
To further understand its itinerary, we peeked into the exhibition Un puñado de polvo (A Handful of Dust) (2019): first two Soviet blankets, a reminder of those garments (some of which still survive) with which many of us protected our bodies from the cold humidity of the tropics for decades; then the ruins of a Basic Irrigation Unit, the site where the turbines were installed to ensure the irrigation of the sugar cane plantations through a canal. irrigation, site where the turbines were installed, to ensure the irrigation of the sugar cane plantations through a channel, here the most attractive thing is that the ruined place is transformed into a gallery and within it fits the series Una copia sin miedo (A Copy Without Fear) (2017-2019), composed of drawings –ink on cardboard– and paintings –enamel on canvas–; inspired by the motifs of the two Soviet blankets.
There is much talk these days about recycling, and in reality the matter is more complex and richer than it may sound to our ear, when transferred to the creative field this recycling also involves the intervention of the mind of its executor, and therefore the addition of a supplementary burden of subjectivity. In the case of Harold’s work, this subjectivity leads us in some way to recover the space lost when its useful life ceases, offering us, in exchange, the option of adopting a polemic attitude towards what has happened in our environment and enjoying the scope of appropriation as our own.