Alberto Alejandro Rodriguez. Space: past and present

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532 Gallery presents Space: Past Present, an exhibition of sculptures,
assemblages, drawings, and artist books by Alberto Alejandro Rodríguez. Space: Past and
Present is Rodríguez’s second solo
exhibition with the gallery.

The works of Barcelona-based artist Alberto Alejandro Rodríguez are haunted by the specter of
destruction. Using ruined architecture as a backdrop, he constructs liminal spaces suggestive of
abandoned offices, squatted rooms, and entrances leading nowhere. To articulate how the
vestiges of human effort that earmark such spaces can align with polarizing feelings of
rootlessness and nostalgia, Rodríguez underscores the political narratives that are encrusted onto
the surfaces of these sites.

These narratives are written in a cipher of wood and iron, swaths of
torn-up wallpaper, and protruding mounds of discarded documents. But it’s only through the
process of destruction, as it gradually reveals foundations that would normally be kept hidden,
that the true cornerstones of our society can come to light.
Across the different bodies of work on view, Rodríguez shows how sites indigenous to his native
Cuba might parallel others scattered throughout Western nations. His Auriga series, which
borrows its name from Plato’s dialogue Phaedrus, refers to a mythical charioteer driving two
winged horses: one representing all that is beautiful and good, while the other represents neither.

Composed of plasterboard, wood, and paper fragments retrieved from an abandoned mansion in
Havana, Rodríguez’s Auriga works recreate what was once one of the most elegant buildings in
Havana: a structure which, today, has all but fallen into ruin. While specialists have identified the
cause of the building’s destruction as being due to its proximity to the sea, Rodríguez sees in this
a poetic testament to history’s frailty in the teeth of geological time and ineluctable natural

Underlying Rodríguez’s sense of naturalism lies a fascination with the detritus of weathered
artifacts: the bygone worlds they allude to, and the spatial possibilities they make room for. The
series titled Destruktion consists of found pieces of wood, iron, and wallpaper retrieved from a
derelict building in Havana. Arranged to appear like miniature rooms, glimpsed through a portal,
these works show how seemingly random and ephemeral surfaces can provide the foundation for
entrenched architectural vistas. In a similar vein, Rodríguez’s artist books are dynamic records of
unique spatial interventions.

Titled Prolog, the works included in this series anticipate design
alternatives fostered by corrosion and decay, or spatially model the historical stages of a built
structure from the date of its construction to the year of its demolition.
While many of the works featured in Space: Past Present allude to places eaten away by time, a
complementary process of solidification is revealed through Rodríguez’s use of documents. In a
work like Descriptive Memory, which forms the centerpiece of the exhibition, the concepts
“document” and “documentation” converge to map out a scale model of an abandoned building.

Rodríguez’s use of actual legal documents to reference the building’s history not only thematizes
its current state of decay, but points out the political responses that have cropped up around the
site. In the face of neglect, these policies have only served to mummify decay: maintaining the
superficies of the building, like a monument of destruction, against all hopes of ever salvaging it
from ruin.

Alberto Alejandro Rodríguez (1995, Havana) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts “San
Alejandro” and holds a Master’s Degree in Artistic Production and Research from the University
of Barcelona. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions at galleries and cultural centers
across Cuba, USA, and Spain: among them, the Contemporary Art Center (Havana); 532
Gallery Thomas Jaeckel (NY); the Viladot Foundation (Barcelona); and Casal Solleric (Palma de
Mallorca). His work can be found in the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection and has been
reviewed by The Brooklyn Rail, Hypermedia Magazine, and CdeCuba.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by .  Read the original article -