Con el Mismo Amor (2007)
Directed by: Vivien Bittencourt and Jan Henle
Color - 20 minutes
Producer: Dee Vitale Henle
Cinematographer and Editor: Tom Piper
Associated Porducer: Vincent Katz
Production Assistante: Malcolm Wyer
Text: Pierre Apraxine
Graphics: Jerry Kelly
Workers: Ramón Acevedo Cruz, José Lu
An artist from St. Croix now living in New York and Puerto Rico, Jan Henle has worked in the Caribbean since the early 1970's. Con el Mismo Amor (With the Same Love), a living sculpture in the mountains of southwest Puerto Rico near the town of Maricao, has been eight years in the making (1999-2007). It consists of three acres of an abandoned coffee plantation that was overgrown by tropical vegetation. Henle cleared the site with the help of local jibaros, or mountain men, working the land with axes, machetes, and other hand tools to reveal its elemental texture, color, and shape. Trees indigenous to the region and in some cases nearly extinct were the planted and now punctuate the open space. The viewer can experience the sculpture either by being present in it or by confronting the monumental photographs of the site, Henle's "film drawings." These were made at different times of the day from platforms specially constructed on poles or in trees at the perimeter of the piece.
As the process of artistic creation in Zen philosophy is one and the same with the work itself, so the land, the drawings, and all activities and interactions here brought to realization constitute one work. This opens-ended, constantly regenerating work of art emerges from Henle's fundamental belief: "You Know what you are doing because you live in a certain manner and the work comes out of this life."
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