Only someone who does not feel Spanish enough, a Cuban-Mexican is a perfect example, can offend in this sarcastic way the tradition and memory of painting and the memorabilia of what royalty means for our history, in our present. And he does this as a polyglot man, an artist who uses languages as and when they might benefit him in terms of a specific outcome. Knowing that nothing is more political than the poetic, he imbues them with poetic questions.
Hence, his words in light installations refer us to a kind of eternal ready-made, a renaming of the word made light; for that is what words bring: clarity, light, beauty to the things they name. Perhaps, because Raúl is a nostalgically encyclopaedic man in a technological universe, where everything that once contained something sacred has been made frivolous. And everything is former. We are all a former something, a former partner, former spouse, former Cuban, former Caribbean, former American, former photographer, former video artist, former painter (5).
And there, in that dramatisation of disappearance, in that looking back but stopping the moment you glance back over your shoulder and look to the side, there, Cordero finds a healing fugue, a parodying diversion that relaxes him away from the absent-minded and distracted disproportion of his contemporaries, caught up amidst the grinding of urban music, media narcissism and filial activism, with their predilections and their phobias, forgetting the shades of grey found among those who choose the extremes.
There he remembers that it is in the Hispanic Harlem neighbourhood of New York City, a place he does not belong, where he feels most at home. Where his Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban friends live together in a strange peace of admiration and respect and infinite chatter, infinite flexing, infinite seduction and cockiness, where Salsa music is sung in Spanglish, and a Rum and Coke, the famous “Cuba Libre”, is paid for in coin of the realm. But one feels that in such a blend there is a kind of future, a shadow of what’s to come. A future that only polyglots – like Cordero- can dedramatise, turning it into a baroque delight. A baroque created through new languages, becoming neo-baroque, a mechanism of reinvention that he still structures like a unitive artist. Someone who looks us in the eye and says:
-Si solo tienes tu amor… you don’t need anything else babe. So…No more drama! Fall in love with that!
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain