About the Photographer
Marin, Rogelio Lopez (Gory)
U.S. resident, b. 1953 Cuba
Like a swimmer who has gotten lost
Under a layer of ice,
I look for a place to emerge.
… but there is no place.
All life long I swim holding my breath.
I don't know how you all can do it.
We are blind. Blinded by the future.
We never see what's in front of us,
Never the coming second.
We see only what we have already seen.
That is, nothing.
After all I can't be the only one to realize it.
I'm not so clever.
They've only agreed not to mention it.
How all walk all their lives without knowing
That following moment,
Without knowing if with the next step
They'll still tread solid ground or will fall into nothingness.
I thought I had wound up in the wrong dream
Or the wrong world.
Or maybe it was I who was wrong
For this world, or this dream.
… but if it turns out that I'm only
your common dream, that all of you have
dreamed me from the beginning,
that I never was other than the dream of others,
then, my dreamers, I beg you:
from now on dream of something else.
I can't go on,
I don't expect you to wake up.
For all I care you can keep sleeping
as long and well as you want,
but stop dreaming me.
And explain to me something,
Ladies and gentlemen,
What happens with a dream
When the dreamer wakes up? Nothing?
Nothing happens anymore?
-from The Mirror in the Mirror, by Michael Ende. Translated by Juana Rosa Pita.
In his works from the photomontage series It's Only Water in the Teardrop of a Stranger, Rogelio Lopez Marín, also known as Gory, takes images of a swimming pool and juxtaposes them with photographs of trees, cars, the open sea, and the words of the above poem (placing one stanza by each photograph), in a surreal exploration of the objective and the mystical. Originally a painter, Gory now manipulates his photographs through multiple negative montage printing and color toning. This process questions the nature of reality itself, with subtle shifts in image gradually separating the viewer from any sense of objective truth. The major focus of this series, the pool, is located at an abandoned hotel in Cuba. After the government denied Marin the ability to leave the country, he constructed It's Only Water in the Teardrop of a Stranger, expressing his frustration and sense of suffocation with the restrictions. The intense colors in the above photographs (constructed in the pre-digital 1980s) are achieved using toner to increase the contrast, hand-coloring the works as opposed to using color film.
Raised in post-revolutionary Havana, Cuba, Marin (b.1953) studied at both the National School of Art (1973, BFA) and the University of Havana (1978, MA). For over fifteen years, he worked as a photographer for the Cuban Cultural Ministry Magazine. Since 2000, he has worked as an independent artist, with exhibitions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Grey Art Gallery at New York University; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and the C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore, MD. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Biblioteca Nacional in La Habana, Cuba, among others.
Camnitzer, Luis. New Art of Cuba. (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1994).
Cotter, Holland. Stylists of the Epic and the Surreal. The New York Times Weekend (Friday September 7, 2001).
Wride, Tim B. Shifting Tides: Cuban Photography after the Revolution. (Los Angeles: Museum Associates, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Merrell Publishers, 2001). P.56-60.