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Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova: wakefulness, comfort and redemption


A folded bed. Courtesy of David Castillo Gallery

You might sleep, but you will never dream is the title of the Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova solo show currently opened at the David Castillo Gallery. The show explores in a logical continuity the surroundings as a symbol of the spirit. However, if prior to this show, Rodriguez-Casanova’s proposal centered on suburban context as ascetic environment where rarefied atmospheres lead to an anguishing vacuity, now the artist looks back on his own past, trying to rebuild a missing part of that puzzle that is always the existence.

The most powerful resource in Rodriguez-Casanova’s artwork is the gap, the interstice where the emptiness becomes overwhelming threat. The spectator must engage himself in a way out of this twisted labyrinth inhabited by ambiguous structures devoid of its original meaning. Some of the structures appear in a bizarre copula that only emphasizes the ostracism and the nullity of the dysfunctional object. That is the heavy conceptual connotation behind each of Rodriguez-Casanova’s propositions.

A Bedroom Floor. Courtesy of David Castillo Gallery

You might sleep, but you will never dream denotes a very neat difference between body and soul. Looking back in his own past, trying to re-build his own history -always from the inanimate, the artist opens to us a new door where every single element tries to re-activate the disjointed memory, as the only and effective way to restore our identity. Architecture and domestic objects become then a palliative and a danger. We are at last alone with ourselves, deprived of almost everything except ourselves.

In the installation A Bedroom Floor, 2009, the artist has recreated the exact tile grid of his adolescent bedroom floor in Havana. The perfect Cartesian grid seems to be floating in the space, in a sort of Limbo. The tile as sufficient element evokes the rational effort to restore the divided spirit, torn between the comfort of the sleep and wakefulness.

After all, every loss is an acceptance that set us free but does not redeem us.