With or without embargo, the brands you will find on the walls of Havana areunlikely to be Rolex or H&M. These are the impressions of both the weather and the passage of time. Sometimes the two of them collide, and the story can suddenly turn into a cyclone. It is this encapsuled, almost hermetic time that Pierre-Alain Brandt explores and crystallizes into this series of “fragments” made in Cuba, Hecho en Cuba. Brickwalls become abstract paintings … and yet so solid, concrete. Pauses ontactile, epidermic images, seeking to capture the spirit of place and restoration of the complex soul, so rare in Cuba.

So the eyes of the artist turn away from a classic, very touristc reading of amazingly photogenic Havana to expose one to the most sensitive, photosensitive settings. He avoidsthe usual clichés and contrasts the stereotypes of these emblematic facades of the island. These iconic portraits of Korda, these murals stenciled with the holy trilogy of the barbudos are duplicated, replicated, tirelessly and obsessively repeated. Hasta la victoria siempre, venceremos, Creemos en los sueños … all these slogans hammered, clubbed like so many illusory promises, the ideal of another time.

Tothe sound and fury of the crowds, Pierre-Alain Brandt opposesthe silence of beauty and ghosts. To the tagged mottos, he prefers the unsaid ofpastel surfaces, palettes of ultramarine blues, chalky white pigments, ochres and browns built up by the smoke of an army of puros. With the acuteness and accuracy of a dermatologist he observes all the traces, cracks, scars, tattoos on the skin of the houses. He decyphers the patina, the strata of the past. Using his lense as a brush, he revealsthe murmur of the walls. Their memory.

Philippe Coll de Vives © 2016