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Ivelisse Jiménez

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Competition Guidelines
Sculptural piece
New municipal library, Barranquitas
About the Area

Traditional town centers are the urban counterpart of the rural imaginary, prevalent, as a rule, in representations of Puerto Rican identity. The transformation of a rural economy into an industrial one after the 1950s, favored other settlement forms, particularly suburban developments spurred by the potential of the automobile. At present, urban centers compete with shopping mega-structures. Having experienced substantial population losses in the last decades, they are now reduced to mere service centers.

The Project for the Revitalization of Traditional Urban Centers of the Department of Urbanism, promotes the qualitative regeneration of public space as the first step of a resettlement strategy. This initiative has offered artists a vast stock of public spaces and buildings, as a means of adding art to the heart of island towns. Such works should celebrate the characteristics of each town without falling prey to nostalgia or a false reconciliation with populist expressions. The selected works evidence a vast array of formats and themes, that range from the praise of natural landscape to bolder visions, committed to the future of these strongholds of everyday life in Puerto Rico.

Artist: Ivelisse Jiménez
Title: Rizoma (Rhizome)
Site: New Municipal Library, Barranquitas
Dimensions: Eleven polychrome glass pieces hanging from a 13'-6" by 13'-6" stainless-steel frame
Materials: Polychrome-blown glass and stainless-steel

Rhizome confronts us with the act of seeing itself, and invites us to perform a visual and physical tour of the piece. The aim is to make the spectator aware that his or her presence is necessary to enact the ever-changing possibilities of the work. The changing perspectives of this piece force the viewer to assume an active role as a constructor of images. Each segment proposes different coordinates, based upon elements such as color, form and surface that intertwine in a non-static hierarchy. The work invites us literally to visit it, to invade its space and become a part of it; to re-compose it as a jigsaw puzzle that may be assembled and disassembled in multiple ways.  

Rhizome defines the spectator as a reader, a very appropriate metaphor, given its site. Creating a visual composition is always equivalent to the act of reading, by recreating in the field of art that which is inherent to reading. The active reader, at once engaged and contaminated by the writing of another, creates a new text based on his or her discursive universe. The same activity describes the spectator's gaze; our gaze, contaminated by referents, but nevertheless capable of turning the imaginary into fancy.

This work does not impose itself as hegemonic. Nor does it pretend to set a fixed meaning. Quite the contrary, it allows the spectator to construct his or her own pictorial composition. It appeals to subjectivities and is conversant with previous texts and references, encouraging the public to create new discourses.
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