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Dermis León: Temporary Refuges, 2016


Alfredo Ramos’ photographic series, Temporary Refuges, registers with forensic thoroughness, the remnants of a sacred ritual carried over by the sea. The images witness the destruction of the sacramental realm, where there was an exchange and where crucial energy was used, symbolized by the animal’s blood (Ebo Eje in the tradition of Yoruba), to repair and restore the absence of equilibrium in regards to human suffering. To return to the natural flow of life and to restore the internal and external imbalance of man with the force of nature, it demands the sacrifice of a living being to act as the middle ground. Thereupon the plants, flowers, and those objects that intervene in the resurrection of said balance, becomes a temporary deposition for human necessities and aspirations that look for resolution in the mediation of the ritual.

To attend these rituals is part of the human ancestral atavism, of which looks to interfere the energies that connect us to the complexity of these artificially created realms, and of those that are organic and cosmic. In moments of doubt and subconscious uncertainty, we return to the refuge that allows us to again restore what was once lost, the balance in which we envelop ourselves in. Even so, the images of Alfredo Ramos question the very nature of sacrifice. In their pure and raw form, his melancholic photographs bring back the rest of this human process, the same footprints of death and decomposition. Having journeyed through oceans and the space-time continuum, objects, animals, and plants intertwine in a state of confusion and overlap within nature. In addition to manifesting what is sacred, they testify their ephemeral and precarious materiality and in which the disruption that occurs within the inevitable calamity, the absence of such life was due to that change. Consequently, the material world becomes that is but archaeological debris, the leftovers in the cosmic graveyard of nature.

The melancholic and incongruent images of Ramos have a façade that symbolically breaks and disrupts the concept of a utopia that is held over the island of Cuba, the island of enchantment. In an era where revolutions substituted the compelling notion of participating in rituals that contradict the nature and rationality of the social utopia to resolve the collective and individual necessities, which reflects over such rituals as a manifestation of the collective conscience, and becomes the embodiment of the failure of the social-political process/agenda. His photographs also reveal a provocative reality and overlaps certain surfaces and dimensions, and it is the impossibility of the coexistence of both realities: the existence of a sacred refuge and its rituals of sacrifice in restoring the lack of equilibrium is palpable in every sense.

Dermis León (Indipendent Curator and Founder of Curatorial Bureau), Berlin, 2016