Social groups talking from the margins, speeches taking up a stance, voices beginning to be heard, others that wane, at times or forever. The eternal IN-OUT movement. The dynamics of every stage marked by hegemonic narrations and by alternative ones, and the successive exchanges taking place among them. History, all in all.
History of art has also been written in these terms. And although centerperiphery dichotomy is today rather in disuse, shelved behind other concepts that, under the light of theory, better identify the signs of what is contemporary, it is still applicable to talk about what is happening today in visual arts.
Although applied in ways that, for many, are very controversial.
Because the truth is that minorities and their speeches begin to fit into the hegemonic discourse: what is officially IN can be just what is or was considered alternative or different, what is rescued from the margins. Therefore, now we almost never talk of the periphery, but of an expanded center continually changing its focus of attention. The at times showy and complicated dynamics of the world of art today lies in these movements. The trends are transient.
The certainties, ephemeral. Only the eye of the curator, the critic or the editor are there to identify something that is a trend in itself, whether coming from one or another source, whether being or not under the spotlight in that minute.
But things being this way today does not deny history. And this issue of Art OnCuba precisely looks at areas long ago displaced from the center, highlighting how prejudices have fallen for some who, with a larger star or because of an intense and continued promotion activity, but above all from a language overcoming the barriers imposed by gender, or by a developed manifestation, have been seen and accepted even by the most retrogressive dictators of trends.
A group of women artists from all generations, whose creation has developed in the most diverse environments, took the paths their time and circumstances have traced out and that they have modified in their own way, from the strength of their art: Mimin Bacardí, María Brito, Consuelo Castañeda, Lidzie Alvisa, Cirenaica Moreira, Yamilis Brito, Mabel Poblet, Teresita Fernández… A possible panorama, with some unavoidable absences the readers may complete with former and next editions.
The marginalized trade of engraving, whose pretended limits have been undermined since the nineties by some of the more singular voices in contemporary Cuban art, is also included. Even a collection of engravings that, without an excessive fuss or promotional display, are in continued movement in European museums and galleries, actively contributing to the knowledge of Cuban visual creation. This group of works belongs to the Schneiders, whom Peter Ludwig brought with him to Cuba.
As in other occasions, the opening of several exhibitions has been used to listen to the ideas generated in intelligent spectators. That was how we celebrated Cundo Bermúdez centennial, proposed a view on Wifredo Lam’s oeuvre through the McMullen Art Museum show, and entered into an intelligent review on the most recent edition of the Contemporary Cuban Art Salon.
The purpose is, once more, to rescue memory and avoid oblivion.
As is usual in our magazine, we have included experienced critics together with some younger ones, whose ideas contribute to enrich the system of interpretation and appraisal of Cuban art yesterday and today, including among them voices of writers and artists.
Paradoxically, our minority report on Cuban art for this December edition has the privilege of being in one of the gravitational centers of contemporary art: Art Basel Miami Beach.