Juan Carlos Alom
Marta Maria Perez Bravo
Santiago Rodriguez Olazabal
This selection from the Daros Latinamerica Collection is of course not capable of giving a comprehensive overview of all artistic movements in Cuba; it does provide an excellent insight into the most important facets of Cuban artistic creation of the past decades.
curated by Hans-Michael Herzog and Katrin Steffen
Only few countries in Latin America can boast such a consistently thriving artistic and cultural landscape as has prospered in Cuba for the past decades. Despite adverse economic and political conditions on the Caribbean island of Cuba, the Cuban art academy Instituto Superior de Arte continues to bring forth interesting artists until today.
For the exhibition Ficción y Fantasía at Casa Daros in Rio de Janeiro, we have selected 17 Cuban artists, most of whom live and work in La Habana. The 119 works of art on display that have found their way into the Daros Latinamerica Collection over the past 15 years were created in the time from 1975 to 2008, thus spanning more than 30 years. This selection is of course not capable of giving a comprehensive overview of all artistic movements in Cuba; it does, however, provide an excellent insight into the most important facets of Cuban artistic creation of the past decades.
The pivotal point of all artistic considerations and strategies remains the Cuban island, its culture, and its history. The peculiar government system, the blockade, and the precarious economic situation dominate the focus of the artists. Ranging from an underlying critical distance to irony to sarcasm, the political and social analysis as pursued by Lázaro Saavedra, René Francisco, and Tonel is both absorbing and animating. Using the simplest of materials for their creations, Ivan Capote and Yoan Capote also reflect the conditions and contradictions that are specifically Cuban and frequently bizarre. Los Carpinteros' drawings of mostly non-realized projects are characterized by playful conceptualism.
The tension between longing and inevitable reality takes poetic effect in the works by Manuel Piña and Juan Carlos Alom, while the everyday videos by Javier Castro intelligently render what Joe Blow has to say. In their radical performances, Ana Mendieta and Tania Bruguera place their condition of being women in relation to male-dominated society. Marta María Pérez Bravo examines her role against the iconographic backdrop of the Santería, a syncretic religion resembling the Brazilian Candomblé. José Bedia, Belkis Ayón, and Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal, finally, artistically reflect the ghostly, mysterious imagery of Afro-Cuban religions.
Image: Ivan Capote *1973, Relax, 2002. Chromed metal, leather, rubber and conchs ("caracoles reales") 21.5 x 20 x 7.5 cm. Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich
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