Alexandra Acosta Vilanova (El Vocero) writes about Puerto Rican artist Enoc Pérez, whose latest exhibition, “Las islas del encanto” [The Islands of Enchantment]—curated by Juan Carlos López Quintero— is on view at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR) until April 2023. Here are excerpts from her article:
When it comes to Puerto Rico, artist Enoc Pérez cannot reduce it to “painting flags or writing messages on paintings.” He assures us that the Island is a space of contradictions and complexities. “The buildings themselves, the hotels are progressive modernist architecture, and, at the same time, they are the symbol of the colony.”
Pérez is considered one of the main exponents of contemporary art. He developed his artistic career in the United States, but his work is included in exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and North America. [. . .]
He is exhibiting Las islas del encanto at the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (MAPR) with a selection of 59 pieces in oil on canvas, which revisit memories of iconic structures, interiors, and landscapes. Works such as Normandie, Hotel La Concha, San Juan, Caribe Hilton, Ponce Inter Continental and Hotel San Juan, Isla Verde stand out.
Juan Carlos López Quintero, curator of the exhibition, explained, “These buildings represent a promise of happiness, of modernity, of great achievements. And you see that today many of them are in ruins. That is an important detail. That is why it is the island of enchantment and the islands, because you will see that there are six moments in Enoch’s painting that speak of that promise of happiness.”
Pérez affirms that he paints reality, “I am not inventing anything. I paint whatever captures my attention. Positive or negative, it doesn’t matter.”
“Through landscape we can determine the world. The landscape is also us. That landscape belongs to you, it belongs to me and what we carry inside, nobody can take it away from you, except storms and that kind of thing. So, what I am trying to do with these landscapes is to remain standing, to keep up, because every time there is a storm, we lose something, as a people,” the artist said in an interview with EL VOCERO.
“There is also the question of how we Puerto Ricans also succeed, no matter how bad the disaster; I don’t see myself as a victim. For example, I saw a video of these girls cleaning a house in the south of the island after the last storm and the house completely flooded, but there they were, dancing. I said to myself, ‘Ah, see, a society like this, you can’t kill it.’ I have never seen such a thing. And that is what I want to focus on,” added the painter. [. . .]
Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. See original article (in Spanish) at https://www.elvocero.com/escenario/cultura/enoc-p-rez-y-las-islas-del-encanto/article_c2e97832-5960-11ed-8e57-17d1ad17c35f.html
[Photo by Peter Amador Rivera/EL VOCERO.]