The Foam Collector (Imaginary exhibition for the Havana Biennial)

This is not the first time that I exhibit my work in Havana, but it has been a while since my last time. Since I came across the idea of exhibiting during the next Havana Biennial, I have been very confused. Presenting my thoughts to an audience that can’t see what I can and vice-versa, heavily upsets me. Havana can be the best venue for imaginary events; she is the capital of unfinished dreams and phantasmagoric hurricanes. But also Havana can be the worst place in the world if you pretend to build there something real, permanent or solid.

Certainly there are plenty of meaningful places where I could present my work. In the last years I have been confronted with challenging situations of many kinds, with difficult spaces and very diverse audiences, but just the idea of exhibiting again in Havana, thrills me and moves me to a very difficult zone, straight into the zone where my emotions still live hidden.

What to do? What idea should I develop for this very special occasion? That’s a very good question that artists are very often confronted with. This time the question got a bit more complicated for me. I know I want to be there but I also know that I want to be invisible while being there; I want to be seen as if I have never left the island, as if all these years that I have been away are just an instant, a flash.

For a couple of years, on the 1st of January I take morning walks over the shores of the Rhine River. Early in those mornings you can see lots of interesting things lying around the proximities of the Oberkassel Bridge. In the meadows near by there are lots of empty fireworks artifacts and lots of empty champagne bottles. These are all the remnants of the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Throughout these walks I have collected many champagne metal caps that have been smashed by the overexcited crowd that gathers every year in these shadowy and freezing cold meadows. The caps are precarious pieces of metal, they are ‘blind’ sculptures modeled by masses of people and they are the central elements of my imaginary presentation in the next Havana Biennial.

‘The Foam Collector’ (El coleccionista de espuma) is my imaginary collector in Havana, he performs since many years the difficult task of collecting something that grows enormously and has the capacity of developing into infinite beautiful shapes. However he needs still to solve a very important issue for his collection: when all the bubbles disappear, what remains in his frames and vitrines is just water.


Project in collaboration with Blood Mountain Foundation, Budapest