We instinctively know this. Imagine society without the civilising influence of the arts and you’ll have to strip out what is most pleasurable in life – and much that is educationally vital. Take the collective memory from our museums; remove the bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the empathetic plays and dance from our theatres or the books from our libraries; expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and you’re left with a society bereft of a national conversation … about its identity or anything else.
Noor Blazekovic IRREVERSIBLE Founder Publisher/ Curator: on your own words… ” I am, by default, the illustrator of my ideas, even though I seem to lie to myself constantly... Creating is the experience of being constantly unsatisfied. When this happens, I should redo and lie to myself again”. Can you share with us Who are you and what do you do?
Alejandro Mendoza : I was Born in Havana, in 1992 after completing my studies, I left Cuba for Mexico where I spent the next 15 years on my life, producing an important body of work that has been shown at prestigious institutions like the acclaimed Museo del Chopo, U.N.A.M, and Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil.
Noor Blazekovic : Tell us about Location Drawings Series?
Alejandro Mendoza: Constantly in our path we have to recalculate our location. It has meaning for culture, color, race, language, intellect, money, power and, of course, ART. Everybody dreams of a dream location because location has become a great goal in our life. It is a socially empty concept and speculative. It is one of the must radical modern concepts as a sign and symbol in today’s society.
It is fitting that a contemporary Cuban-American sculptor, Alejandro Mendoza(who is also known for his mixed-media drawings), should be so focused on the theme of the city, in Miami, a place not yet a polish but slouching toward this eventual destiny, despite itself. Indeed, Miami is obsessed with this yearning, culling to its freshly painted shores international this and that, fairs and glamour events, all the trappings of an age whose unspoken belief in celebrity magic embraces the dogma of a fatal equation between notoriety and fame, to bypass those labored centuries of glory and epic from which, once upon a time, true cities and their civilizations rose—and when they crumbled, they lingered in something known as history. Little wonder Miami calls itself the Magic City.
Mendoza, after all, comes from Havana, the only cosmopolis of the Caribbean which its Miami doppelganger has tried to replace, an opportunism which owes its smoke-and-mirror plausibility to Cuba’s half century of progressive totalitarian ruin. But to his credit, Mendoza has cultivated a complex approach to the failures and triumphs of accelerated urbanity—the central theme of much of his work, embodied in Miami, the add-water-and-stir version of instant citea. Mendoza is an archeologist of the living mixed with an acerbic commentator on what does not yet know its fossil self.
Above I am including an excerpt of Critic Ricardo Pau Llosa on your work; as usual another magnificent critic, he said “Miami is obsessed with this yearning, culling to its freshly painted shores international this and that, fairs and glamour events”… the dogma of a fatal equation between notoriety and fame” do you agree with this perception?
Noor Blazekovic : Alejandro you have lived in Miami since 2005 and founded Giants in the City in 2008 can you tell us more about the concept ? exhibition challenges? how an artist become part of the project?
Alejandro Mendoza: GIANTS IN THE CITY resigns to the form of a traditional meaning of the urban monument to offer a new artistic expression that transforms deeply the place of production and reception of the work of art itself; does not relate to the imposition of a symbolic meaning – characteristic of the permanent monument work – but relates to an ephemera parallel idea of equality between the space and the time, creating long-lasting inspiring dialogues between the work and the spectator.
GIANTS IN THE CITY artist founder Alejandro Mendoza | image courtesy Liam Crotty Photography
Alejandro Mendoza: The arts and economic vitality are, in fact, connected in many ways. Art can improve a community’s competitive edge, create a foundation for defining a sense of place, attract new and visiting populations, integrate the visions of community and business leaders, and contribute to the development of a skilled workforce. Specifically, arts and cultural activities draw crowds. Giants in the City embrace the practice of promoting creative artistic activities in vacant green areas as a revitalization tool.