The series Connections/Conexiones is an ongoing collection that began in 2011. It includes mixed media collages on cardboard, drawings, paintings, and sculptures in metal and mixes material. The work is a study of everyday life and human connections mainly in the urban space of Havana (Connections I and II), while the latest creations of Connections are inspired by the urban space of the places where the artist has been traveling to and living in (Connections III, etc.).
The artist navigates the urban spaces through shifting the viewer’s attention to the margins and the marginalized, focusing on their interactions with centralized discourses, traditions, habits, and local beliefs.
His pieces highlight the texture of the urban space in a depth of lights and shades that capture the nuances of the geography he inhabits. The lines, the details, and the elaboration process of his art shape new tendencies through the visual lens of the artist. As a result, Wilay Méndez Paez creates a new map of the cities he rescues in his collages and with his sculptures he deconstructs and reshapes the present of Cuban daily experiences with life, current challenges, and daily questions.
His work establishes a new kind of connection with the city and offers a refreshing visual dialogue with his reality. In doing so, he offers a view of the places, that as he says “he was destined to live in,” that escapes any romanticized cliché of a mythological past or of an imagined utopic future. Instead, he invites his spectators to be fully immersed in and connected with the present of the urban space bringing new insights on daily life and small gestures.
The collages present a connection to the tradition of the Street Art. However, in this case, the walls travel to the page and they coexist with texts embedded in the collage, as we would see with graffiti in the street. Words and walls create an intimate language that witnesses and narrates the apparent void of a peeled wall to fulfill it with poetic texts. Each collage is a metaphor of a moving person, is a thought, and sometimes has a bi-dimensional tendency composed by lines, metal elements, words, sounds, letters, and symbols that constantly point to a direction of a moving subject in the urban space with all the experiences that can come from there and with everything that that movement can bring to the personal development.
The sculptures present movable elements. This characteristic visually refers to the ways in which citizens occupy the urban space: as a whole in constant movement. These movements invite the individuals to touch, to smell, and to interact with the other bodies and the walls and cement of the streets. The masses become a social, cultural, human mass fully connected with all of the processes of its existence. As a result, this body of work recreates a gestural language in constant movement.
Below you can find a selection of collages and sculptures from Connections I, II, and III. The sculptures that belongs to the latest Connections series present works both in metal and in plastic. This material comes exclusively from cars involved in car accidents in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States.
Cetus 22 x 28
Concentrador 22 x 28
Fantasma 27 1/2 x 19 5/8
El visitante 27 1/2 x 19 5/8
Abrazo 1 and 2, #1: 19,3 X 15 X 12; #2: 16 X 16 X 12
Cuerpo y Sombra 27,5 X 12 X 9,5
Guerrero I, 12,5 X 8 X 10
Piano Forte 12 X 11 X 5,5
En Sintonía I and II, 12,5 X 6,5 X 6,5
En Sintonía II, Detail
En Sintonía I, Detail
Mantis 8 X 6,5 X 6,5
La Defensa de la Rosa 19 X 15 X 13