7th Havana Biennial -  Home November 2000 - January 2001Home
Adolfo Cifuentes - Statement
Adolfo Cifuentes Written down by Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt, based on an interview with the artist. + zoom: click on images
Project Identity

I have been running this project for two years. I first realized it in Bucaramanga, my hometown in Colombia, and at the Biennial in Cuenca in Ecuador.

It is a participatory project which uses a very simplified form made of cardboard about the size of a postcard and with a punched-out hole for the nose. I ask the children to use it to make their interpretation of a face, their drawing of a mask. After that I do not present the masks themselves but photos of them. These are taken like passport photos - not in their format, as they are larger, but with the same characteristics: a frontal pose, without lighting or with light from the side that gets rid of the shadows, a neutral background, etc.. For this I collaborated with photographers that take such pictures. But here in Cuba it would have been very difficult to photograph all the children, so I asked four children - two boys and two girls - to be models.

I arranged the photos into an image of the Castillo del Morro, a symbol of the city, as a sign of collective identity. The number of participants is very important to me; here it was 400 children. I worked with them for about two weeks. The Centro Wifredo Lam helped me make the first contact to the schools. But then I sought other mechanisms as well. For example, I turned to student workgroups, religious Sunday schools and art workshops where some adults were involved.

The work made it possible to get to know the city from another point of view, namely, through the eyes of the children, the schools, the teachers. That is very important to me.

(Translated from the German version by Rebeccah Blum)

© Photos right: Adolfo Cifuentes
Interview, portrait: Gerhard Haupt & Pat Binder,
Universes in Universe
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Cifuentes - 1 Tour

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