SHOPPING CART ATOMIC
By MARCO BERENGO
(Venice Projects, gallery director)
As soon as I saw Shopping Cart Atomic by Carlos Betancourt, a supermarket carriage overflowing with incongruous objects covered with a uniform turquoise-colored patina, a bizarre memory or aberrant recollection came to mind. It was as, if in looking at the piece, I remembered something familiar, and I promised myself at that time that I would invite him to work with glass. It was only later, after having viewed other works of his that I understood perfectly this sudden decision of mine.
On Carlos’ blue cakes we are presented with flamingoes, bananas, coffee pots and votive statues, which have all converged, presenting us with unlikely decorations on sweets no one would ever eat. Likewise, on the panels of the Re- Collections or Reading Objects series we are faced with an endless heap of objects, natural and artificial, where upon everything has been reduced to the same color and size and later used to create marvelously harmonic ornamental compositions. Our gaze is captivated by the unfolding of forms and textures, where the represented object’s real nature no longer serves any purpose. Carlos Betancourt uses the most disparate objects, as if they were letters of a mysterious alphabet, and joins them like plastic Scrabble tiles, only he’s not really interested if the words actually make sense. The only have to ‘sound’ right.
Thus, in the end, I understood the reason for this initial impression or sensation of mine. Betancourt’s works remind me of the metal cases where, in the kiln, you deposit the glass sculptures that have been broken, chipped or are imperfect. There, similarly to what is seen in Carlos’ work, you can find horses along with chandelier arms, owl heads, female profiles and shell-shaped oddities.
Any object Carlos desires for his compositions can be made with glass. This is but one of the reasons I wanted to place an infinite glass alphabet at his disposal, therefore allowing him the freedom to write in that symbolic language that only he knows.
The result is Cabinet of Wonders: Ornament and Obsession. I am certain that this exhibition marks only the beginning of Carlos Betancourt’s relationship with glass as well as with Italy.