7th Havana Biennial -  Home November 2000 - January 2001Home
Raúl Cordero - Statement
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This work belongs to a string of installations I call "The Hello/Good Bye Series." In it I examine the fact that we here in the West generally use the same gesture - waving the hand - when we say goodbye to or greet someone from a distance. The ideas behind this work have to do with how the same gesture can express a certain situation or its complete opposite.

In the work for the Biennial I use signs found at the entrance and exit of many towns and which have "Welcome to X" on one side and "See You Again in X" on the other. The way in which an object says one thing on one side and the opposite on the other is the basis for the use of the well-known sign "Las Vegas, Nevada" - a neon advertisement that only functions at night in the sense of Las Vegas' nocturnal ambience - and the Varadero beach sign known to all Cubans - which has been there a lifetime and, as it is painted and without electric lights, can be seen during the daytime. Built on the desert and the beach, these two places stand on sand and besides, both names begin with the letter "V".

The signs change on the lenticulars when one walks past it. In this way the observer can see the side of both signs that either says "Hello" or "Good Bye," according to where he stops in order to look at it.

The installation is a reproduction of both signs in their original size and portrays a mixture of both since I use one side of each of them (Vegas/Varadero). This work, too, has the "Hello" and the "Good Bye" side. One, that of Varadero, looks better during the day due to its color and the beach aesthetics. The other, that of Las Vegas, looks better at night as it has neon lights, lights simulating a movement through time. The spectators can choose one of the sides and sit down on the stands facing it; in doing so they have a "strange" contemplative experience of the kind of sign normally only viewed for a few seconds while driving by it on the street. The ground surrounding the work is made of a mixture of sand from Varadero and from Las Vegas.

(Translated from the German version by Rebeccah Blum)

© Text, photos on this page: Raúl Cordero
Translation: Gerhard Haupt & Pat Binder,
Universes in Universe
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