Mixed Media Installation
Dimensions Variable
All photography © Paul Takeuchi 2011.
Duende is a word with no direct translation to another word: it takes a few words, a mention of a poet, allusions to the diabolical and small naughty men to make the idea known to a non-Spanish speaker. I first encountered the word while reading about Federico Garcia Lorca’s life: I thought of it then as a kind of vibration, an energy an emotion that we feel as we create. In language it could be the phonic that makes words come together as song, and in architecture? Could a building have duende?
In researching the history of the location of Instituto Cervantes, I learned of the way the buildings were carefully dismantled, the ground excavated and the structure carefully rebuilt to become a more structurally sound Amster Yard. I imagine this process as an archeological one, with specialists documenting each brick, separating this one from that one, and cleaning off the mortar that once made the bond between each element.
May 2011
Instituto Cervantes Amster Yard, New York, NY
I wrote An East Village Man, His Sleeping Wife to be performed within the installation Duende.
Bill Oliver directed Moti Margolin, Jeremy Rishe, Claire Russell, Susan Stout and Tony Chiroldes in a performance during the opening of the project. The audience was asked to follow the actors as they played scenes within and around the Amster Yard complex. The last two scenes took place in the gallery which had been installed with drawings and relief prints of the sidewalk in which the main character met his death in real life. A hallway of salvaged wood framed a reading of one of Lorca’s Sonetas del Amor Oscuro, in Spanish and English, simultaneously.
Maria Nicanor, a curator and critic based in New York, organized Duende. Read her essay about my work published in 2009. Beck.Nicanor.EXIT.pdf English translation: Beck.Nicanor.EXIT_en.pdf