Garciandía Mugged in Havana…

/ 16 March, 2015

Once again Flavio Garciandía surprises, even himself. He returned to exhibit in Havana with a curatorial project by Cristina Vives. They both suggest the anthological exhibition Quisiera ser Wifredo L (I’d Like to am… pero no se va poder Be Wifredo Lam… but It Won’t Be Possible),1 in which some of the most representative periods of the artist’s creations are gathered.
(…)In this selection we observe your peculiar tributes to paradigmatic artists. How did these pieces emerge?
Many years ago I held an exhibition in the National Museum of Fine Arts entitled Una visita al Museo de Arte Tropical (A Visit to the Tropical Art Museum). It was like two exhibitions together, completely different from each other. One of them were the tributes based on certain fictitious trips—that I myself invent—of paradigmatic artists to Havana; the other was a sort of review of Cuban modernism. Those tributes that have accompanied me since then emerged there.
(…) Basically, these are rather amusing tributes which establish a sort of empathy with some artists I consider emblematic, but at the same time they allow me to manage myself as an artist without a relationship of influence with them. (…)
In this exhibition your very well-known piece Todo lo que usted necesita es amor (All You Need Is Love) and another portrait of Zaida del Río you also made in 1975 are included. Multiple legends have been weaved on both pieces and, undoubtedly, the first one is the best known of your paintings in Cuba and abroad. (…)
I have a rather odd relationship with that piece which is in the collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts, a little love-hatred. It was made in a moment of explosion in my work and became very well-known and popular. (…)I have worked much from that date to now and it is practically as if the other things I have made did not count. (…)
Although at the beginning I wondered when would I overcome the stigma of this painting, as years have gone by I have understood it is valid that a given audience enjoys part of my work and the rest a different one, or none. (…)Some years ago the piece became even better known: the project Arte en casa (Art at Home) used it for the design of towels, jars, shower curtains, among other household items, without asking for my permission, by the way.
As to the history, to put an end to myths, I can tell you Zaida was a sort of muse. Many think we had a romance, but that was not so. I painted those portraits to try to win her heart, but she never cared for me. A great everlasting friendship and those paintings is all there is. It was a beautiful moment I remember with fondness. At times that fame upsets me but, at the same time, fills me with great satisfaction. (…)
1. Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center, Havana, November 21, 2014 to February 6, 2015.

Cecilia Crespo

Cecilia Crespo

Cecilia habla sin parar, aunque también escucha, pregunta y responde gran parte del día. Su arista silente solo se vislumbra cuando se aferra a su teclado o cuando lee. Le apasiona su familia y desde hace rato, la cultura cubana y un delicioso libro que escribe para distribuirlo gratuitamente entre sus amigos(as): Manual de cocina práctica y exótica.

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