Wallscape. Pavel Acosta. Intervention in the permanent collection of El Museo del Barrio. La Bienal: This is where we Jump. El Museo del Barrio, 2013
Wallscape has an antecedent in the series Stolen Paint, 2008-present, that I started in Havana, Cuba. Back then, I decided to incorporate in my artistic process the way Cubans survive the daily hardships, as the state doesn’t pay them enough to make a living out of their job. They steal the state’s property to then re-sell it in the black market. In 2008, I started stealing paint ships from different surfaces, all over Havana. I searched for paint that was already aging and falling apart in walls, doors, chairs, cars, etc., and used it in my collages. The visual result was related with the aesthetics of Havana itself —which is very deteriorated. I am very interested on the idea of recycling in art, while it is also important for me to re-codify the materials used. Once I came to live in the States, I kept working with this technique, but the pieces began to relate to other concepts and contexts.
When I was invited to participate in the bienal, I had in mind I wanted to reproduce the piece that was in the wall in front of the one I was assigned. I also knew I would use the old paint I found on the wall, but I had no exact idea of how the result was going to look like. The piece in the front wall ended up being very colorful, carnavalesque, and baroque (Goat Song #5: Tumult on George Washington Avenue, 1988, by Manuel Macarulla,) and the paint I found in my wall was mostly mochromatic, with different tones of white, thus creating a great contrast.
Even when it is part of El Museo’s Biennial, Wallscape is placed in one of the rooms where permanent collection is shown. It is therefore an intervention in the Museo’s permanent collection as well. With this piece, I am interested in raising questions on the role of art institutions today, and their relationship with contemporary art. My wall —an exhibition wall— stopped being a neutral element, that doesn’t interfere physically or aesthetically in what is shown. After re-arranging its surface, it became the protagonist. Once intervened, this wall has been invalidated forever. When the exhibition is over, it will need to be replaced by a new wall. It will die as an exhibition wall, and continue to live as an art piece.
Wallscape recalls a miraculous apparition, or the effect left in one´s eyes, when shifting the sight from a very colorful and illuminated landscape or object, to the dark. That is hopefully a relationship the public can establish after going around the room and finding the connection with the piece on the opposite wall.
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