Red is linked to blood, power, heat and fire, pain and courage. This is a color not only with expressive associations for our perception, but also with a historical endorsement that relates it to the most notorious revolutionary processes in history such as the Russian and Chinese revolutions, with red being the predominant color of their respective flags. And red has been precisely the chromatic nuance with the greatest visual weight in the works that make up the October (2019) series, by photographer William Riera, while red becomes the common thread of a discourse that aims to accentuate the importance of certain elements in composition, which is not a gratuity of the artist, but rather a forced foot for interpretation.
These works house the nostalgic symbiosis of a subject who remembers his past through the experiences of the present. They are a personal travel blog in which the longings for a time that he lived and felt in body and soul merge from the strong presence and significance that Russia had for Cuban culture and society, now nuanced by a contemporary sensibility that is linked to the life experience of a high percentage of Cubans who will also find in these images the evocation of a latent past: VEF radios, the most sympathetic and expressive toys, the loud Russian alarm clocks, cartoons, and a whole range varied of objects and remembrances that have lasted until today as vestiges of a past time.
However, for those younger people who can find in these photographs a certain fascination and distance from the elements that William Riera has captured in his passage through Russia, they will also be able to assimilate in them the identity iconography of a Russia that preserves memories while assuming contemporaneity with dizzying dynamism; in which red manifests its intensity in the present, in addition to constituting a debtor of the national historical tradition. These works are the manifest reflection of a nostalgic and current look, which from an artistic perspective, have struck a chord with their creator.
Yenny Hernández Valdés
Art Historian and Curator
Havana, Cuba. July, 2020