Yoan Capote. Island (see-escape), 2010. Oil, nails, and fishhooks on jute, mounted on plywood. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds provided by Jorge M. Pérez
Island (see-escape) shows a crisp, open sea. Thousands of hooks are nailed to jute and plywood panels with their sharp ends projecting toward the viewer. Mounted in varying concentrations, the hooks recreate the light and shadow of ocean waves. A dark horizon line provides the only means of orientation. Thick brushstrokes recreate the sky. Pinkish tones among the silver and pastel hues of a gray day reveal the violent process of adhering the hooks to the panels. The pinks stains are blood—from the hands of Capote and his helpers—drawn accidentally during the making of the piece.
The image of a sea of hooks and blood speaks to the condition of the islander. It recalls the familiar pinching of the fishermen and the layer of rusty hooks left behind at the bottom of the sea each day. It also conveys the distressing possibility of being engulfed by the ocean, drawing infinite stories of migration and death trying to escape an island to mind. Island (see-escape) belongs to a series of seascapes that Capote started in 2006. His idea was to display the series around a single room, aligning each painting by their horizon line. Upon entering the room, the viewer could experience the illusion of being surrounded by water—becoming their own island. Capote’s series also draws inspiration from the Iron Curtain, the ideological barrier between Eastern and Western Europe in the Communist era. Noting Cuba’s annexation behind the Iron Curtain, Capote draws an ideological-political element into the work as well.