The latest series of photographs by Cuban artist Adrian Fernandez portray the backside of billboards situated in surreal landscapes. The complex structures and unexpected shapes are suggestive of Russian constructivism, but the more interesting question is what is on the other side.
Pending Memories is partially inspired by changes to Cuba’s visual culture since its revolution in the 1950s. The photographs hint at the propaganda billboards, banners, and industrial sites erupting throughout the traditional landscapes of cities and countryside. Inspiration for this series began when Fernandez visited Las Parrandas de Remedios, the annual Christmas festival in Remedios, Cuba. One of the major attractions at the festival is a cathedral-like façade built solely for the support of lights and images that are a rallying point for the festival participants. According to the artist, “Being inspired by such an event, I initially intended to document these massive structures but only being photographed from the rear angle, never the front. The problem with such a procedure is that this festivity happens only once a year, giving me very little room to work. This situation led me to start considering creating my own structures, based on drawing and designs previously conceived and then placed in any context or space I saw fit.”
The initial challenge for this project was to find a team of collaborators who would help translate ideas of the imagination into photographic images. The consulting team consisted of an engineer, an architect, and a designer who worked with Fernandez to create structures that are as fantastical as an M. C. Escher drawing, yet are realistic and believable.
In the collaborative process, the engineer and architect work together to design and build the relatively small structures. Fernandez then chooses and photographs a landscape into which the structure will be virtually introduced. The designer then stages the structure with lighting and background that match the environment of the landscape photo. The separate photos of the structure and the landscape are then merged into a single image. Fernandez oversees the entire process, including the final printing process.
To learn more about photographer Adrian Fernandez, visit: adrianfernandezphotography.com. All images are courtesy of the artist. © Adrian Fernandez 2019.