Meet Clandestinos Puppets at La MaMa Galleria.
and "9 Windows." Latex, Cotton Foam Acrylic. Federico
Restepo, 2009. Photo by Suzanne Trouve Feff.
If you walk between First Street and Bowery, you should
stop and have a look at those huge impressive puppets hanging from
La MaMa Galleria's ceiling. This is the new mix-media installation
by Federico Restepo, "Clandestine/Clandestino," to be
exhibited until April 26.
Restepo. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.
Through a video installation combined with plastic
and metal puppets, the Colombian artist Federico Restepo expresses
himself about immigration nowadays. The exhibit deals with the difficulty
in adapting to a new culture and protecting your own cultural identity.
According to Respeto, the exhibit is a dream that your former world,
your homeland, is drifting away. This provokes anguish that is the
immigrant’s mental state.
It may be what Restepo felt in 1985, when he left
Bogota to move to New York. Originally a dancer for the Ballet National
de Colombia, he started dance career in New York. In 1985, he created
his company, Loco7, dedicated to the development of puppetry in
dance and theater. His goal was to create a unique relationship
between the dancers and the puppets. His choreography, lighting
design and stage design use puppetry in order to offer a new vision
static sculptures at the entrance seem to be trying to get away.
Restrepo's marionettes have not much in common with
usual marionettes. First, they are three times bigger than human
size. One is flying, the second one is staring at you with threatening
eyes, others are performing acrobatics all over the gallery while
aluminum static sculptures at the entrance seem to be trying to
get away from the exhibit.
Some puppets are composed of latex and some are
only aluminum. The most impressive work was, for me, the installation
"Circumstance" in the right-rear of the room, where three
delirious puppets are hanging from the ceiling in strange positions,
as if they were carried away and controlled by a big hand.
Cotton, Foam, Acrylic. Federico Restepo 2009. Photo by Suzanne
Facing them, three skinny woman puppets of different
ethnic origins stare at you with their sad eyes, as if they were
trying to tell you how difficult it is to be a Clandestino these
days. [Suzanne Trouve Feff.]