The opening of the 4th San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial has been nothing short of a miracle. Complex organizational and communication problems in the midst of the crisis and bankruptcy of the government of Puerto Rico have been difficult obstacles for its realization. Nonetheless, the Triennial is taking place, and is happening without compromising its artistic excellence and its cultural and educational action. It has been possible to guarantee the Triennial to work as a constellation of exhibitions, workshops, seminars, educational activities, etc., on a scale never seen before. I thank all those who strived to make this possible in such adverse circumstances; in first place to the artists and to my co-curators Vanessa Hernández Gracia and Alexia Tala for their generous patience, commitment and enthusiasm.
This 4th edition has taken to the extreme the open, expanded sense of graphic arts that gave birth to the Triennial as a renovation of the former San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Printmaking, approaching graphic arts as poly/graphic, as contemporary art. We are pleased to have with us tonight Mari Carmen Ramírez, “ideologist” of that transformation, and Deborah Cullen, curator of the previous edition. This approach makes the San Juan Triennial – as far as I know — the most advanced graphic arts event in the world. Nevertheless, it presents as well more traditional forms articulated in an expanded field, such as Myrna Báez’s solo show, in which the artist is honored by a sound intervention by Tania Candiani, and the Grabadores por Grabadores (Engravers by Engravers) project.
With the works of 55 artists and art collectives displayed in 9 venues — for the first time extending beyond San Juan, the country’s capital city — in a continuous exhibition that includes 3 solo shows and public space interventions in San Juan and Ponce, the Triennial explores the intense displacements of the image in the contemporary world. It has generated great enthusiasm within artists and students in Puerto Rico.
The current ubiquity of the image has led to its multiple transformation and to intense dynamism. Today we all produce, continuously and profusely, technological images that contribute to a visual tsunami in constant movement and mutation that surrounds us all. Art is no stranger to this situation: it reacts to and takes part in it.
Without intending to offer a survey, the 4th Triennial explores the contemporary image’s displacements and hybridizations in works by valuable, complex and provocative artists of Latin America, and by Latinos in other continents.
The Triennial is one of the periodical international events of oldest lineage that remains in the world: 45 years. It is a value and pride for Puerto Rico that goes way beyond the island.
I call upon all organizing authorities to have the intelligence, the conscience and the commitment to keep it alive in these difficult times. It is a responsibility to the country and to the culture of Latin America and the world.
Long live the 4th San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial!
24 October 2015 - 27 February 2016
Title: Displaced Images / Images in Space
Chief curator: Gerardo Mosquera
54 artists and groups
from Puerto Rico, Latin America and the
Caribbean, and Latino artists in the USA
Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP)
coordinated by its Fine Arts Program