THE EPHEMERAL BEAUTY OF SAND
Posted on July 23, 2012 by Luca Andriani
When I first saw this Cuban artist’s work, I’m talking about Liset Castillo, born in 1974, I got very impressed. I’d say I got petrified! Human Studies is the name of a body of work, created in 2010. I think the best way to explain his art is to use his own words without any other comment: “In my new body of work, “Human Studies,” from 2010, I subvert notions of enduring beauty with life-size images of women sculpted in a labor-intensive process out of sand, which I then photographed before destroying them. I create life-size sand sculptures of models typically found in high-gloss fashion magazines, photograph the works in sand and then I destroy them as a commentary on the ephemeral nature of beauty, America’s obsession with youth culture and decay.
In an age when many can look at themselves in the mirror and no longer recognize the faces they were born with, my figures silently question universal fears about beauty ravaged by the inexorable tides of time. The models appear alienated, lost in solitude and seduced by narcissistic reveries. Their petrified countenances are frozen at the symbolic moment of transformation; that moment before they disintegrate back into powder, before they are swept back by the wind to the landscape and licked back by the saltwater to the sea. My notions of beauty are at once fragile, ambiguous, destructive, and eternal and are defined by the desires traced on the spectator’s soul. These enigmatic beauties may be ephemeral yet they will always remain a haunting presence in the landscape, quietly reminding us to cautiously tread the corridors of vanity.”