I say rescuing and not conservative, because even though Alfonso is a kind of Noah of the artificial, of the human material culture, his procedure is undeniably disturbing. Each object is represented life-size and coexists in a picture space that Alfonso has turned into an ark, splashed by the water that stains and blurs the contours of the shapes. It could be said, playing on words, that this is an arkaic space. Plastic or plush toys, cookbooks, sophisticated telecommunications equipments and ancestral African or pre-Columbian sculptures along with images of religious or cultural idols such as pop music stars. Some come from commercial establishments and internet sites—real and virtual markets where transactions can be public or secret, excessively expensive or an expression of an economy of gifts. But nothing of this contexts appears. As with every chiaroscuro and every photo, what is hidden is more than what is revealed.
The juxtaposition or proximity of objects can suggest significant associations to the spectator, but this is something that Alfonso is not interested in taking advantage of. Even if everything seems to be in order so as to make their contours look good and be counted, chance and chaos prevail. Each motif is equivalent in its sterility, like the letters of a dead alphabet. In this manner, the artist has discovered in the inanimate the trait that characterises the material culture and, at the same time, he has relinquished the power of symbolic representation that he learned at the academy, perhaps as a gesture of modesty. By using the language of mimetic representation, which is the basis of Western aesthetics, while subverting it through the silence of signifiers, Alfonso underlines the background similarity between art and consumption.
No matter how close we get to the forest, even if we give attractive names to each species—those that are there will still be trees. All the objects of that human de-creation that we call goods—’one, two, three, three hundred’—are basically numbers of the same series, equivalent, that is to say, replaceable. Except one, the painting itself, which Alfonso does not count among the objects even if he has turned it into an ark, usable again and again, that is to say, non-disposable. Naming and counting were undoubtedly divine privileges that served to cement scientific knowledge. But renaming and discounting, as Alfonso appears to demonstrate, are also invaluable for human beings to exercise the act of extraordinary power that we call art.
Santiago de Cuba, 15 de enero de 2018.