My experience at the Residency

September 2015

Guillermo Rodríguez (b. 1986, Puerto Rico) is a conceptual artist who studied fine arts and sculpture at the University of Puerto Rico. He completed a Bachelor of Art (Honors) in Art Practice at Goldsmiths, University of London and a Masters of Art in Curating Visual Arts at the Universidad Nacional Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires. Rodriguez lives and works between Buenos Aires and San Juan.

He has exhibited locally and abroad, including the 11th Bienal de la Habana (2012, curated by Juan Delgado Calzadilla) and “Artesur: Collective Fictions” at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013, part of Nouvelles Vagues); and he curated the group exhibition “Destejiendo el Arco Iris” at Galería Avalancha in Buenos Aires (2014).

Rodriguez inaugurated Basel’s residency program at Atelier Mondial from October – December, 2015.

My experience at the Residency

During the last 3 months of 2015 I had the opportunity to focus on a period of artistic and theoretical research, in Basel, Switzerland. I am truly grateful to the Davidoff Art Initiative for their support, and for awarding me their first residency in this city. I could talk about the outcome and impact this period of research have had in my artistic practice, but instead I would like to focus on another aspect that made these past few months so special.

During this time I found myself in quite a fortunate situation, meeting some truly wonderful people that are now in the process of establishing new connections with the effervescent art scene of the Caribbean region. Because of various geopolitical conditions, these connections have been quite difficult to establish while based in the Caribbean, at least for myself. Thanks to these types of initiatives, this is changing.

Being based in Puerto Rico, a “non-incorporated territory” (Commonwealth/Estado Libre Asociado) of the United States, the country’s political condition directly affects cultural production on many levels. Together with its geopolitical isolation, the colonial relationship with the USA has provoked a certain cultural dislocation in relation to the rest of the Caribbean, not to say Latin America and the rest of the world. It is under this set of unfavorable conditions that each link created, be it personal or institutional is a greatly significant event in itself. Each cultural exchange between the island and the rest of the region works as a ‘bridge’ for new dialogues and collaborations that lay the basis for very much needed networks to be seized in the future. Part of an ongoing set of initiatives around the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America, this residency has been an incredibly useful platform for a wider dialogue to take place. Now back in Puerto Rico and working together with Beta Local residency, I have the impression that some of these ‘bridges’ are already being transited, and I, together with many more people, am looking forward to help build many more in the years to come.

My experience at the Residency
Untitled, 2015. Nail polish and spray on asphalt concrete, various sizes.
My experience at the Residency
Apshalt 2, 2015.
My experience at the Residency
Studio View.