Carlos Betancourt artworks explore issues of memory and personal experiences by delivering the past in a new context. In "Times of Illuminations", the artist has used as his main medium his vast collection of Christmas tree toppers. By removing these star-shaped objects from their original intention and placing them in a new setting, their embedded and inherited memory can be "activated" and the elements can be appreciated in a different realm. Adding new meanings to the objects, thus creating a new experience, the artist becomes a Memory-Maker.
The first tree topper acquired by the artist about 6 years ago was shaped as a large snowflake and was kinetic in nature. Its movement and lighting qualities of this mass-produced item inspired the collections and ultimately this piece. When artist Typoe invited the artist to participate in this exhibit, Betancourt had recently began the execution of this work, which was coincidentally loaded with motion. Different from the intentions of the original art movement of mobiles and kinetic sculptures that rejected aestheticism of modern capitalism (1), this artwork not only embraces the personal and collective memories that these objects incite, it also praises the sometimes dismissed beauty of mass-produced and disposable objects.
By using lighting and movement as vehicles of harmony and balance, Times of Illuminations expands on the versatility of kinetic sculptures, by also reflecting how ones’ own experiences and memories can actually transcend the personal and become universal. For Betancourt, this works transcended into a celebration of our perpetual collective condition of being in motion and finding equilibrium in the syncretism of our times, light as our universal hope.
Like Inaugural poet Richard Blanco said, it is ones own experiences that define your art, not necessarily the other way around.