Back and Forth: Keeping Time in Vaivén establishes a decentralized, transnational, intergenerational representation of visual artists to form a bridge between Puerto Rican and Diasporican voices from the turn of the 21st century to the present. This curatorial research, subsequent traveling exhibition, and accompanying bilingual catalogue, gathers a range of approaches to image and mark-making, sound, video, and sculpture and installation to celebrate a breadth of artistic practice across the Island and its mainland Diaspora. Derived from the Spanish folk term for back-and-forth movement, the project considers the term vaivén as an ebb and flow of physical exodus and repatriation, a site of complex connection and tension, and a collective consciousness shaped by both living inside and outside of a “post-colonial colony.” While exploring questions surrounding legitimacy, authenticity, and fluidity, Back and Forth: Keeping Time in Vaivén engages a rigorous examination of which voices have defined Puerto Rican contemporary art and which continue to be underrepresented. Through travel across the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico to engage in studio visits, interviews with critics, curators, and scholars, and collections research, this collaborative investigation further embodies vaivén as a dialogue across Island and mainland, Puerto Rican and Diasporican, past and present.
Teréz Iacovino and José López Serra
“History books are being rewritten all the time.”