UNAICC (Unión Nacional de Arquitectos e Ingenieros de la Construcción de Cuba)
Calle Humboldt #104 equina Infanta, Vedado, Cuba
Karl Marx in the first chapter of his seminal work, The Capital, describes a concept, the commodity fetishism, by which things appear to have a will independent of people. When the commodity is presented to consumers concealing the processes behind it and the exploitation to which the workers are subjected, it turns into a ghost, a specter.
"Total Act" delves into these reflections and is based on the Marxist postulate that economics and politics are intimately linked. It demonstrates our submission to the system that makes us passive and impotent subjects in the hands of those who control it and the capital’s domain. Therefore, entering the main hall of the exhibition, we face the work "Total Act". The letters PARA LLENAR EL VACÍO QUE VENDRÁ, ESTO (to fill the void that will come, this), cut-out of the curtain that contains them, suggest to the viewers the idea that they are in a theater, where there was, is or will be a show. Whether this show is Luis López-Chavez’s exhibition itself, or the macabre dance mentioned in his statement, as the wall behind the letters is dark, the “void" that they mention is where the speakers usually stand. Therefore, this piece suggests that, if there is nothing behind power, the individual, in its relationship with it, always loses something. That which is amputated is not only physical like taxes, but also psychological, like a complex or humiliation, and leaves room for prostheses.
In front of this piece, on the balcony that overlooks the main hall, occurs a choral-electronic performance entitled "Prosthesis". This is based on seven texts from the homonymous anthology of poems by Ramón Hondal. From each poem the composer Santiago Barbosa made a suite, whose scores and writings are assembled by various musical notations (from pneumatic to classic, modern and other more experimental types) in order to be interpreted by a choir. This piece, working in intervals of fixed timings, marks the pace of the exhibition. Esteban Bruzón accompanies the choir creating a soundtrack on site inspired by the poems and the exhibition.
In order to relate the theme of politics as a spectacle to that of disease as human degradation, López-Chávez presents the piece "Marble man”. In these oil paint-filled engravings, amputations of diseased organs intertwine with the marble slabs’ veins.
The three ceramic installations in “Total Act” recall the countless social and power relations in the production, circulation and consumption of religious articles in Cuba. Before becoming sacred objects, for those who produce and assemble their parts, and for ministers, they are commodities. As this commercial chain ideologically clashes with its religious significance, the artist intervenes and alters some of their characteristics.
Interested in putting to the test both one of the most poetic concepts in Marx, that of the fetish-ghost, and the profane that accompanies the sacred, through his works Luis López-Chávez highlights once more that, in all production, even religious and artistic production, while imperative powers flow, there “remains something irrational, purely aesthetic." This dichotomy, ultimately, is what turns our existences into a total act.