Cuban contemporary Art on the other side of the Atlantic

/ 1 September, 2016

Cuba. Tatuare la storia has been proposed as the most extensive exhibition on contemporary Cuban art. Because of that peculiarity it is placed in the list of great group shows with a national topic which, since the middle of the 1990s, have been holding away from Cuba, with the intention of offering a deep look on the Cuban phenomenon and facilitate its placement in the international artistic panorama.

Until September 12 it will be possible to visit the exhibition at the PAC of Milan, Pavilion of Contemporary Art. Among the works we find recent or almost site specific pieces, and others that may be defined as classics, of the 31 invited artists. There are different generations facing each other, “a decentered constellation of artistic experiences and attitudes” as can be read in the press note; most of the names chosen had been already exhibited in Italy, some of them even in prestigious events like the Venice Biennial.

Such a wide exhibition offers many arguments on which to reflect: the body as place of intervention, the search of identity, the trans-territorial characteristic of Cuban culture and the problem of migration, of censorship. There are many paths that may be followed. That is why we must choose which to deal with so as not get lost in the crowd.

Cuba. Tatuare la storia is the title chosen by curators Diego Sileo and Giacomo Zaza to metaphorically underline how the Cuban events left an indelible mark in the corpus of the world history of the 20th century, just when the international political changes have switched on the reflectors to the country and the interest to know Cuba grows, also from an artistic point of view. Cuban art, as already happened years ago, must face the expectations of the West and choose whether making good use of its advantage or refuting the false myths that were built around it. Would you like to buy my misery?, Luis Gómez phrase, seems to be the most adequate to express this obsession. Un sueño Sufi (A Sufi Dream, 2011), the title of the work, is a clear reference to consumerism related to art. I imagine that part of the audience visiting the exhibition will have similar prejudices and I wonder if this will be the occasion to refute some and open to a determined historical relativism. What is the idea of History within the island and not the idea of History that has been formed on the island? (…)

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