Juan Miguel Pozo: my work is my bond

/ 1 June, 2015

Undoubtedly, Cuban art of the eighties reflected not only the restless splendor of a generation of artists, but also their failed effort to reinvent a utopia. Unfortunately, most of them dispersed, and, like the stones in the Berlin Wall, ended up in the most dissimilar corners of the world. (…)

This time I approach Juan Miguel Pozo (Banes, Holguín, 1967. He lives in Berlin)…

(…) Formally, in those days my work was influenced by graffiti, by urban art. (…) I used to sell small postcards which actually were sketches of my works, and I was doing very well. I even earned up to 200 dollars a week. In that context, one day Andreas Lukoschik, the famous German television presenter and well-known art collector, appeared in the Cathedral, and he loved my work. Then he asked me whether I had paintings of those small postcards, he went to my study and bought everything I had painted. This was the first time in my life I saw so much money together. I mentioned I was trying to enter into the High Institute of Arts and he suggested that he could arrange a scholarship for me at the Dusseldorf Fine Arts Academy. Just imagine!

(…) Arriving in Berlin was like reaching a place where my language was being spoken. That is why adapting to the context was not difficult for me, especially because most of the Leipzig artists came from a past very similar to mine, right? Their biographies coincided with mine. They came from the GDR, a country that disappeared as quickly as it was born. But the marks were still there, the unavoidable mark of memory. (…)

Imagine that we would have to hang a work by you in the National Museum of Fine Arts. Where do you think they would put it?

Well, I imagine they would have to open a new hall for us, the Cuban artists who are not Cuban. Not too long ago, I posted a work of mine in Facebook and there was a very funny comment by someone who wrote: “How nice, a Cuban painter who does not paint Cuban art!” (Laughter). (…)

I am as Cuban as I can be. The rest of it is my work and the circumstances determining me. (…)

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