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Rasúa puts the reasoning power of her spectators at risk, challenging them to face the most savage of instincts in very specific circumstances. Her project called Brindis [Toast] (2004) permeated commonly used objects such as glasses and trays with pieces of cockroaches and mice, using synthetic transparent resin. These were then used to toast the exhibition Makarov and, as the photos documenting the work show, everybody present ended up eating what was offered in spite of the intimidation that was being presented.
Grethell Rasúa’s art has nothing to do with the decorative or with anything that could be interpreted as being commercial. Everything has an element of risk or danger, as tense as a taut string that may break at any time. Some may find this liberating.
Her work called Sobre las olas de tu boca [On the Waves of Your Mouth], made between 2007 and 2010, is a video piece that revisits the use of body fluids; in this case the saliva of many artists has been collected to symbolize the different types of comments being made in this medium.
Con tu propio sabor [With Your own Taste] (2005-2006) is a work dealing with ecologies by establishing an air of complicity among a select group of roughly twenty people who were asked to give the artist their excrement in exchange for fresh plants to be used as spices and condiments. The donated excrement would be used as a fertilizer for those plants, charged with personalizing each of them. In each of these works, documentation is a determinant factor in order to capture each moment of the work.
At the 2012 Havana, Bienal Grethell presented a disturbing project named Con todo el gusto del Mundo [With all the Taste in the World] filled with articles made from bodily waste such as blood, semen, excrement, hair and nails. These substances were then inserted into household objects and articles for personal use such as rings, earrings, hair bands and underwear.
May 2015 This article formed part of the May 2015 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.
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