Taste: Hector Canonge

Hector Canonge " S U R " 2013 photo by Sandrine Schaefer

The room is filled with a light aroma that could be rose.  It is familiar yet unidentifiable.  A nude body is curled up on the ground beneath a sheet of plastic, the material sticking to different parts of the body.  Condensation can be seen on the plastic, showing that the body has been in this position for some time.  This visceral action was one of many enacted in Hector Canonge’s S U R.   The artist describes S U R as a series of actions that (re)capture, (re)frame, and (re)contextualize the work the artist created during his travels in Latin America in 2012.  He further explains that S U R is composed in five interrelated parts (Genesis, Fatherland, Heartland, Tropica, and Carnation) that blend into a narrative related to the artist’s life and familial history.  Canonge brought S U R to Boston, where his actions merged the contexts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru with Mobius intimate exhibition space.

Hector Canonge " S U R " 2013 photo by Sandrine Schaefer

When the artist emerged from the plastic, he began to cycle through a series of actions that employed materials indigenous to Latin America.  He poured Mate tealeaves on the floor, the muted smell filling the space.  He poured refined sugar in a circle around his body while singing, his controlled exhalations oscillating between power and sounding as if he were out of breath.  He wore a heavy woolen sweater that he unraveled with his fingers, the smell of dust captured in the fibers traveling through the air.  As the piece unfolded, Canonge continued to build a visceral and sensorial installation through his chosen materials and focused movement and sound.  The gentle introductions of smells created a crescendo that led to one of the most dynamic actions in S U R.  Canonge revealed stalks of raw sugarcane that he broke into smaller pieces that were tied to his waist.  He proceeded to peel them with his teeth.  He then invited the audience one by one to experience the delight of tasting raw sugarcane.  With one side of the stalk in the participant’s mouth, the other in Canonge’s, the stalk sat between the two people, their heads at an intimate proximately.  Boston is known for having active audiences that are open to participate in live art pieces, however, this action was so intimate that I was surprised at how quickly the audience agreed to engage.  After more reflection, I believe that the eagerness to interact with Canonge was something that the artist intentionally built into the structure of the piece.  Not only did the deeply poetic actions create a familial feeling amongst the audience, Canonge’s consideration of faint smell created a curiosity around the materials he used.  By the time we were asked to participate, we were thoroughly intoxicated by the experience, making it impossible to refuse.

 

Hector Canonge excerpt from S U R 2013 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

S U R opens a dialogue around a myriad of ideas.  The work clearly has political overtones, providing opportunity to consider the complex relationship that the US has with its Southern neighbors. Although Canonge is specific in creating an experience inspired by Latin and South America, S U R also tackles more general considerations around themes such as otherness, colonization, and how place informs constructions of identity.  The piece was loaded with complex content, yet maintained a sense of accessibility throughout.  As we experienced Canonge exhibit his vulnerability, we were open to engage with him, ask questions, and contemplate the evolving role of place in the 21st century.

– Sandrine Schaefer

 

 

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Hector Canonge is an artist based in New York City where he studied Comparative Literature, Filmmaking, and Integrated Media Arts. His work incorporates the use of New-media technologies, physical environments, cinematic and performance art narratives. In his work he explores and treats issues related to construction of identity, gender roles, and the politics of migration. His performances mediate movement, endurance, and ritualistic processes as well as the interaction with the public. His visual arts projects and performance art work have been exhibited and presented in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

 

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Taste: Sandrine Schaefer

The following footage is one of the first videos included in The Present Tense archives.  TPT Co-Founder, Sandrine Schaefer made this piece during her time studying at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  In the piece, titled, ” A Little Taste of Sweetness,” Sandrine serves homeade applesauce from hand picked apples to the audience.  She approaches each person asking the question, “May I?”  If the audience member says yes, Sandrine gives them a napkin and a spoon engraved with the phrase “A little taste of sweetness” from her body and drapes her clothing across the spectator’s lap as a ‘tablecloth’.  They are invited to eat a handful of applesauce from her hands.

 

 

Taste: Domix Garrido

"Hambre" 2008 Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Madrid, Spain Photo by Fuensanta Balanza

 

Domix Garrido works in the field of performance that is generated around the experimental arts in the context of conceptual art. Much of his work is developed  by uniting two perspectives: socio-political and personal.   He aims for his work to address the strength of  natural and profound emotion.  His objective is to induce emotion that leads to deeper levels of thought throughout his audiences.  Garrido often employs the action of eating to build relationships with his witnesses.  Using minimal resources, this action becomes paramount, reminding those who experience the work that we are connected by this shared human need.  The Present Tense has chosen to feature a collection of his pieces utilizing the sense of taste.

In his piece “Hambre” Garrido is installed, blindfolded, in an outdoor space near a museum.  It is Christmastime.   He eats a hard cake typical of this period.  The cake is in 6 pieces, forming the word HAMBRE (hunger).   The texture is hard to  swallow, so the artist washes it down with champagne.  He spits out the remains repeatedly until the performance ends.

"H2mbre" 2009 EBENT Festival Internacional de fects performátiques Barcelona, Spain Photo by José Carlos Soto

 

He brings this action into the context of a Fine Arts University in his piece “H2mbrein 2009.  Garrido develops this action in 2012 bringing it further into the public realm.  In a public square the artist uses a large knife to cut the words HAMBRE  out of cakes.  Instead of engaging in the eating as an individual action, he invites the public to eat cake.  His eyes are covered while he eats a hard cake. A homeless person offers 1 euro to buy the letter “A”.  She mimics the artist’s action of chewing and  spitting on the ground.  They “eat” together until the end of the performance.

 

“Hambre #4” 2012 JIAAP / Weber-Lutgen Gallery Sevilla, Spain Photo by Ángel Montalbán

 

Garrido employs a site-sensitive approach in his piece, “Chokran”.  During Ramadan, the artist waits for sunset to walk into the Atlantic Ocean holding a tray of sugar cubes. Once in the water, Garrido  makes an offering to the sea and “asks him to eat sugar.”  When the ocean gives back the tray, it frees one piece that Garrido eats.  He allows the cube to dissolve in his mouth, experiencing the contrast of sweet and salty before leaving the water and thanking the ocean.

 

"Chokran" Atlantic Action 2010 ASILAH Tangier, Morroco Photo by Francis Ujaque

 

Garrido shares memories of his grandfather as the beginning action of “Interrumpido”.   He offers the audience cigarette paper made from esparto leaves and pencils. He asks the public to write the name of a loved one and stick the paper on his head. After the audience has made their contributions, Garrido ingests all the names by eating the “leaves.”

 

"Interrumpido” 2010 ARTóN. Arte de Acción Madrid, Spain Photo by José Mogrol


 

 In “Mudança Garrido addresses taste without utilizing the action of eating.  He picks leaves from trees in a public garden.  After dusting his head and mouth with powdered sugar, he wraps his head with the leaves he has collected.  He walks through a nearby outdoor market wearing this mask of sorts, the sugar gathering in the corners of his mouth and the space where the nostril and cheek meet.  He purchases a couple of decorative buttons from a seller at the market, a reference to taste as it relates to esthetic standards. Garrido places the buttons over his eyes, removing the sense of sight.  He lays down, the buttons tumble to the ground.

 

"Mudança" Epipiderme Feira da Ladra Lisbon, Portugal Photo by Mario Gutiérrez Cru

 

 

Domix Garrido graduated in Performing Arts and specialized in Museology and Contemporary Art.  Domix is the founder of Festival ABIERTO DE ACCIÓN in Spain, and gives a series of performance art workshops in educational institutions and art centers.
As an organizer, Domix promotes the research and the exhibition of the performance art through events in several cities.
As a performer he has performed his work in many spaces as well as national and international events like: CENDEAC, LAB, Centro Párraga, Progreso80, EBENT, Acción!MAD, OutOfMind, Poéticas, Weber-Lutgen Gallery, JIAAP, Espacio-1, Préavise Désordre Urbain, Théâtre des Bernardines, Octubre – Arrt d´Acció, Epipiderme, L´Estruch, ARTóN, Kunsthall, FITUR.

Visit  http://domixgarrido.es to see more of his work.