Montage al Aire
A project by: Alexa Hoyer
“I’m sort of invisible. But there are really beautiful and wonderful things that are invisible, and that remains unseen.”
W.R. Salazar, La Habana, Cuba
Storefront window displays are designed to communicate a business’ merchandise and entice customers to shop. In the capitalist Western world, they typically reflect the unconscious dreams and desires of consumerism. In Havana, Cuba, they tell a very different story due to the scarcity of goods and materials imposed by the blockade. In spite of these challenges and shortages, window decorators are able to problem solve and innovate, creating imaginative window displays in the city of La Habana.
Struck by the enigmatic and out-of-time beauty of these displays, Alexa Hoyer returned to La Habana over a two-year period to research, explore and develop a photo series.
“Montaje al Aire” (Air Mounting) is a technique of window dressing unique to Cuba, which suspends goods and materials from the ceilings using fishing line, wire or string. It was created out of necessity due to the lack of mannequins and pedestals.
Despite the beauty and invention of the work, pedestrians often walk by without noticing. The windows disappear into the fabric and bustle of the city. The photographs make these window displays visible. By re-contextualizing the windows with new perspective, Hoyer bringstheir sculptural and surreal quality to the forefront and invites viewers to see beyond the glass to a deeper place of imagination. The photographs draw attention to formal aspects of line, shape and volume, while re-framing the work as ready-made art. They also give voice to the people who originally dreamed up these works.