Hontanar de bonanza, 2010 / Instalación / Molde de cemento, flores y vino / Installation / Cement mould, flowers and wine
El centro de todas las cosas, 2010 / Cemento, bajorrelieve sobre cemento Cement, bas-relief on cement

When life and art become the key to creation processes, works of art bow before certain mysteries. Artistic processes acquire multiple philosophical, humanist faces, and works of art penetrate the silent space of the spirit where it establishes its coordinates that are just those of existence itself. In Hildamaría’s1 most recent works art and life come across. Along the way, she reveals the implications of a journey along several possible roads all leading to the inner self: the one of the times of history passing through the ages of men until reaching those who better understood the sense of transcendence; or to the present time, where we live, marked by the vital and rhythmic sign of the beating of the heart with live with. These are Hildamaria’s X and Y axes and in the intersection of the lines those times cross with each other. It is in that common place where the truths of the scriptures on wisdom, where digital sensors of modern technologies pulse the intimate secrets that we all carry inside us. In that point, all the journeys converge, it is the origin,2 where art and life meet. This is the territory of Hildamaria’s most recent works.

Drawings, paintings and installations make her work more diverse, in which the drawings’ strength and the use of extra artistic means always associated to a deep study of the meanings provided to her work by the materials, particularly to sculptures and other three-dimensional pieces, prevail. The hearts resting on the floor are typical elements in her most recent work and have their origins in the one she made with corn grains during the Ninth Havana Biennial in 2009. The pieces, empty inside, reproducing the anatomic forms that have been also carefully studied by the artist, offer one of the roads she wishes to explore and to which viewers have been invited. The empty organ is a hollow to be filled by each person with their own secrets, joys and sorrows; and the artist shows–without worries– the cement mold used to make her open, transparent epoxy resin-made hearts. Placed on the floor on a carpet of red flowers, the breeding mold ­­–processed and cured as container– served as a chalice that was filled with red wine in front of the public and used to serve the drink. A ritual, a liturgy, a metaphorical act of socialization from that symbolic fountain set there to build the magical instant of communion, the right place for relations.

Hildamaria’s hearts are wrapped up with a faith that charges them with symbolic energies. Bibles, nails and barbwire turn them into very ritual-related offers. Fragments and fragments of verses cover one of the pieces. Holy words are continuously scattered on top of the huge heart placed on the sand, surrounded by many other open books that, in different pages, keep bringing into the present the value of genesis texts, books that have been read by many through time and were bought by the artist on used book stores having a lot of added values inside, things that people forgot to take back or left behind, the artist told me, and which mysteriously come to us like traveling messages seamen put inside empty bottles that sailed away.

Hildamaria’s most recent works are formulated in the atavistic language of human wisdom through multiple sources. A deep polytheism passes right through them because the heart of the matter is not to express the particular strength of a religious belief but the certainty within the great balance that links them to all wisdoms of mankind. “The board” (2009) refers to the ancestral Africa, the Odu of Ifa, its word; and “Decalogue” (2009) refers to the ethic and cultural last resource in which sentences of many, coming from any where and from different times in the history of mankind. The word is an essential part of Hildamaria’s most recent work, a word with sort of spontaneous typography, kind of drawn or written, but always reminding us of the certainty behind her poetry, the mix making up her system of values. In her drawing “Salomon Labyrinth” (2009), the phrases marking the anatomic lines of the heart, an organic part of it and of the coherence of her field of vision, with the bends of the many roads taken by reading and readers. It is a very delicate pastel work, a technique mastered by Hildamaria in all of its different details. The paths built by the words are proverbial ways used to come closer to art and life through what the artist offers as a gift, the text’s ability to regenerate for human improvement and condition.

Hildamaria exhibited a Marabu branch-woven ladder, at a personal exhibition in 2008 displayed at the Development Center of Visual Arts, at the Plaza Vieja, in Havana, titled “Ladder to heaven” (2008). The piece embraced on its thorny ascent to the top –so yearned for as supreme hope– the course of sacrifice. Even greater would have been the sacrifice entailed by assembling that structure of spiky branches of that aggressive plant. But the artist spared no efforts to honestly reveal her understanding of the relationship of life and art as the time of the journey where the important thing and the essence is the process, scale to the top to obtain a work of art that would change its image, nature and color during the time of the exhibition. The author is motivated by such transitions. They challenge her to stimulate the viewer in all of their senses aware of the fact that the Marabu branches would wither and so would the fragrance of the cloves arranged like a crown of thorns in “Hotep a Horus” (2009), a charcoal and acrylic piece. But the presence of the natural seduces her and reminds her of the earth, the vivification of everything that germinates. In “Fruit form the earth” (2009) Hildamaria settles the heart on the ground and penetrates it to complete the metaphorical cycle of the relevant ascent of her “Ladder to heaven” with the earthly, transitory nature suggested by the work of art. In those coordinates the invigorating convergence of the quiet encounter of a universe in permanent process of gestation, of comings and goings, of life and death reappear.

The heart is the motive of this body of works of art, because of its connotation in the history of mankind and the importance in nearly all civilizations, especially in Egyptian culture, in which it accompanied the mummified deceased to the afterlife. The heart treasured the greatest qualities and gifts of human beings, such as intelligence, will; it was responsible for the feelings and the core of all spiritual impulses.3

This continuity of the journey has been an obsessive desire of the individual for the perpetuation of the being and the power to dominate dark spaces of immortality by preserving body and soul. Knowledge must also be perpetuated and the hieroglyphic writing shaped the stories. Hildamaria is attracted to this universe; she appropriates not only the values of its meanings but also its forms of expression characteristic of Egyptian art. A contrast in the management of plastics art means and resources is evident. Lines and geometry dominate the visual language of these works so that the deities and symbols can clearly express themselves as in “Handouts” (2009). The visibility of the sources from where she nourishes is vital to the artist. “Djehuty” (2010) a pastel drawing on canvas, is the god of wisdom and arts; in one of his hands he holds the attribute of the life of Egyptians, and on the other one Hildamaria has placed a heart in the clear anatomic realistic version typical of her works, which reaches its fullest visual extent in the work “Ebo okán ejé Olorun”, where the equivalence of the full-size heart with the dimensions of a fist provides its fullest human extent. The drawing perfection and its powerful realism reveal the deep intentionality of the artist who, faced with fears nagging her, “wanted to know” and penetrated from the art the mysteries protected by the skin and the books describing them, and even her own body when risky diagnosis predicted an interruption of the journey. In those extreme situations the lines between art and life entangle in the creative sensibility of the artist and the scales of that relation become more and more uncertain. The popular language is referred to with simple words, “heaven and earth come together,” the universe takes new dimensions in the subjectivity of the individual and the world can be of the size of a heart, or vice versa, as predicted by the sacred writing and the “The vision of Ptah” (2009), greater figure of Egyptian mythology considered deity creator of all the origins. Then the universe can symbolically enter the composition space. Hildamaría feels it that way. That’s how she paints it. “Nut” (2009), Egyptian goddess identified with the canopy of heaven protecting the earth and linked to creation, dominates –in the acrylic and pastel work of art– the union of every there is. But the artist does not escape the essence; it is the road located at the center of the composition and which runs away, disappears and vanishes from our field of vision in the depth of the painting.

This is how Hildamaria’s work is visualized, as a project, the time of a journey in the past, in the present, and to come. A cycle where “Time takes everything” (2010) and the artist locates the moon paradoxically on the extreme phases of its cycle, revealing a synthesis of the perpetual movement in which existence develops, a process where there is no chance. This is how in her poetry, “The journey is what counts” (2010). The artist takes Homer’s words to show in a big screen her most recent echocardiogram, the one showing signs of its vital rhythm. That compassed movement brings the heart out of the silence and the apparent serenity where it was placed by the art of sculpture, painting and drawing in her works of art. It shows itself dynamical in his beats and the image is vigorously expressive and has a powerful visual force. It is not only the sound of life what we hear but its “echo,” its repletion, the propagation and persistence of what we believe is gone but then comes back, of what we think is the same but is different. That is how art and life are like during the time of a journey in the most recent work of Hildamaria: keys and mysteries for an ethical and human reflection.

Cojimar, November of 2010M