By Yenny Hernández Valdés
The identification of the subject with the natural and social environment where he develops is practically inexistent in these times. Paraphrasing Viktor E. Frankl, it is necessary to re-establish that mutual relationship and belonging between man and nature, that spirituality that emanates from the Earth and that through us allows us to connect both poles. In this sense, art is a timely scenario to shout at the top of our lungs about a subject that concerns the human universe in its entirety. Jorge Luis Miranda Carracedo (Havana, 1970), a Cuban artist who is a Spanish national, has tried to reveal through his art the connections, paths, manifestations or behaviors of the individual with the habitat in which he is inserted, or his relationship with another space, perhaps surreal, resulting from the artist’s own subconscious.
When we stop before Carracedo’s works we can feel the indetermination of a temporary stage as well as the reference to a non-place. There is an express intention of the artist not to pigeonhole specific moments or geographies, but to offer the possibility of deconstructing an image and placing ourselves in it as we please. At the same time, and with suspicion, he offers us ambiguous clues to channel our analysis and places us, perhaps, in a modern city with skyscrapers, a pedestrian walkway and a city tree grove (Dreams Channel or National Animal Channel); or, on the other hand, he suspends us in the white nothingness accompanied only by a tree, a subject and a growing architectural structure (Vectors). In his works we have the freedom to choose where to locate ourselves, where to walk and what to build. Moreover, he accompanies each canvas with texts, perhaps as anchorage of his utopias. They are words or phrases that locate the recreated scenery in a space, feeling, desire, or disposition, with which he underlines the enigmatic symbolism of his inner world.
Also striking in his work is a character that becomes a symbolic and conceptual turning point from which a possible semiotic analysis is triggered. This figure, conceived by the artist as his alter ego, is a black subject wearing white clothes, no shoes and a cosmonaut’s helmet. A subject that appears cloned X times and that presents ambivalent shades. The mended white suit, half legged and barefoot, does not correspond to a cosmonaut’s clothing, of which he wears only a helmet on his head.
Does the deteriorated clothing indicate some kind of traditional use? Could it be the clothing of some ancestral rite? Could it be the uniform of some engineering profession? Could it be an illusion of the artist, materialized in this kind of informal, worn out and simple suit with which he has decided to dress his alter ego? Then, for what reason has Carracedo added a cosmonaut’s helmet to his little man? Is it functional? Does it really allow him to breathe while living in another environment, from where he seems to have been implanted, perhaps forcibly, and needs the helmet to survive and adapt?
Jorge Luis thus provokes a flood of questions, with the audacity to transcend simplistic discernments about our future, to then project in large formats a complex universe of relationships and contradictions in which we can identify the decentralization of the subject with respect to his inner “self” and his natural and social environment, human behavior according to his migratory and intercultural movements, and his adaptation to new interpersonal media (Change for Channel). The possibility of clashing in the face of these questions is of more interest to the artist than to hint possible answers, because they would be mediated by his experiences, concerns and limits. Therefore, he would not be completely sincere to his future spectators, as he would not be offering them a free zone where they could understand the world of his paintings, nor would they be able to penetrate in it in a spontaneous and unpremeditated way.
On the other hand, the contrast is not only evident in the clothing, but also between this character and the reality in which he appears. Here are the dissimilar behaviors experienced by the subject in the face of the geo-contextual, cultural and interpersonal changes he experiences along his life when he physically and spiritually emigrates. The final result of the assimilation goes through an anxious process that begins in the disarticulation of the subject from his happy bubble. From there he goes through a stage of recognition of the new place where he arrives with his memories –translated into his corroded clothes–, where he needs to adapt little by little –hence the cosmonaut’s helmet, not as modern extravagance but as springboard that allows him to gradually introduce himself into that new context– to finally make it his own, cross it and adapt it to his prerogatives. This is the phase that Viktor E. Frankl referred to when he mentioned the importance and need of a mutually harmonious relationship between the individual and his vital universe. This last step is not expressed in Carracedo’s canvases, but leaves the gap conveniently open for each viewer to move freely in his or her search.
After almost a decade distanced from the art premises, Jorge Luis Miranda Carracedo proposes his view on the existential question of the subject in his relationship with his natural and social ecosystem. These are his reflections from a consciously critical painting and narrative language. I feel the need to applaud his work, since it shows an interesting technical expertise in planes, lines, and shades; distinctive in symbolic representations, in ambiguous and suggestive allegories. Not only is his technique plausible, but also his narrative ability, as a poet who offers, with modern sensibility, the polemics and immediate uncertainties that disturb the subject in relation to his existential environment.