NOT for sale

Art On Cuba - - Front Page - Llil­ian Llanes & Deb­o­rah de la Paz

Imag­ine. A work has been con­ceived for in­ti­macy. The artist does not want any­one to see it. He does not want no­body to ex­press an opin­ion or try to un­ravel it. Pos­si­bly he is not sure if it is his best or his worst piece. But it lodges a mys­tery, a power of at­trac­tion which dis­places him to a zone of delir­ium and ego­ism.

“It is mine” and, for oth­ers to un­der­stand: “it is not for sale”. It is not apt for scru­tiny and not be­cause of a lack of ma­tur­ing the ideas, but be­cause it is the essence, the core, the axis; be­cause with­out it the artist would not be who he is, be­cause all the oth­ers are ex­cel­lent or not so prom­i­nent ways to reach that point, or be­cause since that point he un­der­stands how to reach ex­cel­lence.

Ev­ery au­thor keeps for him­self a work which he prefers not hav­ing to say good­bye, not even for all the gold in Peru. What would hap­pen if we could have ac­cess to a se­lec­tion of these kind of works, of a group of cho­sen artists?

What cri­te­ria could guide the ex­hi­bi­tion of these pieces? What would be their fate? Would they lose their magic, their aura, that which de­fines them as the quin­tes­sence of the cre­ative spirit? From this pos­si­bil­ity mul­ti­ple ques­tion­ings emerge. Some tan­gen­tially re­lated with the om­nipresent art mar­ket.

The mar­ket ful­fills a dis­tinc­tive role in the world of con­tem­po­rary art. To deny it would be ab­surd. And in Cuba it re­sults as a spe­cial in­gre­di­ent since the mar­ket is not man­aged on the es­tab­lished way—gal­leries, fairs, auc­tions…—al­though these are also present. The artist stu­dio has be­come the axis of the mar­ket strat­egy for an en­tire coun­try, and even when many artists know, re­spect and fol­low very close the in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions, many times it is un­avoid­able that they cre­ate, es­tab­lish and try to connect to the cir­cuits their space of cre­ation or ex­hi­bi­tion in one of the cities of Cuba.

There are two lev­els that should co­ex­ist in art: what is pri­vate and what is pub­lic. To cre­ate for your­self or to cre­ate for oth­ers and, in last in­stance, for the mar­ket.

Among the artists on whom we have cen­tered this time our fo­cus of at­ten­tion are José Án­gel Vin­cench, Car­los Gar­cía, Ale­jan­dro Gar­cía and Alexan­dre Ar­rechea. This last one, with a new pu­bic in­ter­ven­tion in great scale who again arouses a wide polemic and so­cial ac­knowl­edge­ment.

A book on the mu­rals in Cuba, pro­duced in dig­i­tal for­mat by Edi­ciones Boloña, Ha­vana, turns out in­dis­pens­able for the ap­proach to this topic be­cause of its ex­ten­sive his­tor­i­cal and ge­o­graph­i­cal pan­ning. The work by Pepe Franco in pub­lic projects in Ar­gentina and the United States, highlights be­cause of a dis­play of the imag­i­nary of the artist in great scale and an im­pres­sive tech­ni­cal mas­ter­ship. A text on the bill­boards in Cuban art as a topic or a sup­port. New ap­proaches of

Art On Cuba to the topic of pub­lic art, which leaves pend­ing an ex­plo­ration of the ini­tia­tives emerged from the Cuban in­sti­tu­tions in the 1980s, lit­tle stud­ied and put into value to the present day.

Three col­lec­tive ex­hi­bi­tions are widely re­viewed in these pages. In New York, Mi­lan and Washington three per­spec­tives on Cuban art were ex­hib­ited point­ing at dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions: Ga­lerie Le­long, with a se­lec­tion of works by Amelia Peláez, Loló Sold­ev­illa and Zilia Sánchez, which point to a look on ab­strac­tion; the Pav­il­ion of Con­tem­po­rary Art ex­hibit­ing a group of pieces that con­trib­ute to the con­cept posed by the cu­ra­tors on how the Cuban events left an in­deli­ble mark in the cor­pus of world history in the 20th cen­tury; and the Art Mu­seum of the Amer­i­cas, with a study of the youngest pro­pos­als in con­tem­po­rary Cuban art.

These three ex­hi­bi­tions that co­in­cide in the time would be enough to con­firm that we are a trend­ing topic, that the world is deeply looking what hap­pens with Cuban art, that what is pri­vate is in­creas­ingly more pub­lic. We will see, in the way, how the artists pre­serve and in­te­grate, how they adapt.

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