Miami – Spanish conceptual artist and sculptor Juan Garaizabal, internationally known for his 2012 “Urban Memories” project, wants to get Miami and Havana to make eye contact with two monumental sculptures.
The two cities have “maximum complimentarity,” Garaizabal told EFE in Miami’s Museum Park, where his sculpture “Balcon de La Habana” (Havana’s Balcony) is being erected.
The sculpture must be ready by next week, when Miami will host the Art Basel fair, at which more than 4,000 works by artists from five continents will be displayed, and where 73,000 visitors are expected.
“Balcon de La Habana” – representing the outline of one of Havana’s iconic structures – is a stainless steel and concrete sculpture 21 meters (69 feet) high.
Sometime in 2017 or 2018 a “sister” sculpture – although completely different – will be erected on the Cuban capital’s seaside Malecon promenade, Garaizabal said.
The work, the first large sculpture for a public place that Garaizabal – born in Madrid in 1971 – has created in the United States, will be inaugurated next Monday, when the LED lighting forming part of the piece and making the “balcony” visible from far away, even at night, will be activated.
“I’m very respectful with space. I like to generate space, to frame the air, adding something or working to discover things, rescuing something,” said Garazaibal, who believes that there must be “justification” for placing “a mass” in a public space.
During “many Uber trips” around Miami “suddenly I noticed that what was missing here is a lost lifestyle,” specifically that of Havana, and so he proposed “to bring a chunk of the Cuban capital” to Miami, he said.
The sculpture evokes the culture of the Havana natives who live in that city’s historic downtown, who speak with their neighbors from balcony to balcony and observe life from there, something that is diametrically opposed to the Miami’s motorized and bustling lifestyle.
The Havana sculpture will be completely different, inspired by Miami’s Art Deco style, and – like the Miami piece – it will be fashioned of stainless steel and concrete.
Garaizabal said he has already agreed on the project with Cuban authorities and the idea is to finish it before the Havana Art Biennial, to take place in 2018.