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Adrián Badías exposes his reality with current photos and relates them to texts from distant periods to find himself

Upon his return to Puerto Rico several years ago, after leaving the island as a teenager, the Puerto Rican plastic artist Adrian Badias he found himself with a completely changed scenario, particularly in his native Santurce, described by himself as “a ghost town”, in which the people he knew had “disappeared”.

Motivated by the permanent ties he has with his family and the land where he was born, going back to his roots and rediscovering himself became necessary to understand his current reality, using art as his greatest expression. This is how he leaves it reflected in his most recent exhibition “Ulysses, turey de Vizcaya”, which emerges from a book that he is about to publish under the same title, on which he has been working for the past three years.

Black and white photos, as well as sculptures of hands, are part of the exhibition, which will remain open to the public until January 31 at the General Archive of Puerto Rico. As sources of inspiration, the photographs are accompanied by text fragments in English taken from Homer’s Odyssey along with another series of text fragments in Spanish taken from the writings of Christopher Columbus, his son Fernando Colón, and Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas narrating the discovery and conquest of the New World.

“I started this project trying to put my foot down and touch base, and say ‘this is me, I’m here. This is what is happening’, or at least as I see it. I started taking the photos and then one day it occurred to me that because I had traveled so much, it reminded me of Odysseus, who traveled a lot, going from island to island, from place to place. I really ended up where I started, the port of my house. All this time has passed, this journey, ”said the plastic artist, explaining that he sought not to compare himself, but to relate his reality to texts from classical sources, which were consistent with the photos.

However, he wanted to centralize the idea of ​​a universal theme to a specific one, which was related to Puerto Rico. “That is why he included another source of considerable weight, the equivalent for what has to do with us. And the other texts occurred to me. I started with the one by Las Casas, who had discovered it by chance in a bookstore, about the destruction of the Indies, and then I added more sources,” added Badías, who in addition to having studied art history and archeology at Princeton University in New Jersey, he later specialized in sculpture in France and then in Spain, where he earned a doctorate in art.

In his photographs exhibited in “Ulysses, turey de Vizcaya”, Adrián Badías combines organic elements, while the viewer will be able to see some captured from inside his apartment in Santurce and even self-portraits. (Supplied)

In this way, he explains that he provokes a dialogue between these two situations that are so different and from such distant periods, but that conflict in an image, and also in Puerto Rico, with the legacy of the English and Spanish languages.

He has always been focused on sculpture and, although he does not consider himself to have a photographic eye, he explains that he has inevitably been capturing images and developing that interest by having photography as a tool to interpret and understand his own art.

In the sample -which is accompanied by a certain cryptic air- includes current photos abroad with various techniques, some reflect the real estate crisis, others combine with organic elements, while the viewer can see some captured from inside his apartment in Santurce and even self-portraits, in order to make their own interpretation.

It also includes sculptures of hands, which he began to do in 1995 with cement, highlighting the hand as a part of the whole. This states that they are not to talk about the sculpture, but about the human being and his behavior, in addition to our behavior within the Puerto Rican habitat governed so much by cement. However, now his hands are based on a metallic structure, which is reinforced iron and grid, with modeling clay, which are on brushes.

“With these brushes one can no longer paint, but what one has on top of the brush are representations of hands, from touch, from touching. It is a somewhat surreal object in that sense, because it is destroying something that is perfectly useful, which is a brush to speak a bit about the three dimensions of reality, what is seen, what we live with”he explained.

Although he has exhibited intermittently in places like France and Spain, places where he lived and studied, by the 1990s he had the opportunity to do so at the Museum of Art and History of Puerto Rico and the Museum of the Americas, so that this new exhibition in his land -after two decades- fills this artist who currently works in an interior design company with gratifying emotions.

“For me this exhibition has been a process of opening and realization, that is, self-realization. You are projecting and discovering what is in front of you, which reveals part of the world around you and of yourself. For me it is a process of freedom, that is why I try to dedicate myself to this apart from working, doing everything I have to do to achieve it, because it is what allows me to feel alive “reported Badías.

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