Professor of Art Patricia Villalobos Echeverría was recently invited to generate a site-specific art installation for the 11th Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba. The project, titled "Cystema @ 23°8'27.054"N 82°21'10.117"W," consisted of hundreds of cell-like sculptural forms and a sound component that invaded the façade and interior of the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wilfredo Lam, located in Old Havana.
Villalobos Echeverría said of the opportunity, "As an artist, I am thrilled to have my work included within the context of the Biennial and to have the opportunity to dialogue with the Cuban public as well as international artists and critics that visit the Biennial during its run. It took 12 days to install the work, which allowed me to be in direct contact with the public during the installation process, since the building is located in a central and busy area of Old Havana where hundreds walk by every day."
The title of the work is a hybrid of the word "cyst" and the Spanish word for "system" (sistema), followed by the site's coordinates. The sculptural forms seemed to invade and spread through the walls like a virus or rash. The work references a systemic illness or disease, and speaks of relationships of power and dependence whether those are political, sexual or somatic. The sculptural forms teeter between being toy-like and being toxic or dangerous, as they surreptitiously take over the building.
The Havana Biennial was on view from May 11 through June 11, 2012. Villalobos Echeverría will give a public lecture about her research for "Cystema @ 23°8'27.054"N 82°21'10.117"W" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 in 2008 Richmond Center for Visual Arts. For more information please contact Mindi Bagnall at the Richmond Center for Visual Arts at (269) 387-2467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.