Notes on Noviembre Fotográfico

/ 25 November, 2016

Noviembre Fotográfico is an annual event, stable and effective within the proposals of this type that take place in Havana. It began with that title in 2008, but has its precedent in an initiative that was held in 2006, at the Fototeca de Cuba (Cuban Photographic Library) in its 20th anniversary. The purpose of that Coloquio de Fotografía (Photography Colloquium) (…)

The valuable experience obtained in this meeting conditioned that, two years later, the concept of colloquium was remodeled and fused together with new ideas that began to configure Noviembre Fotográfico. The design of the event incorporated the theoretical dimension, based on the coordination of a series of studios, reports, panels, presentations of projects and dossiers by artists that, without losing their original objective, hand over their autonomy to insert themselves in a wider program.

Since its emergence, the event has intended to associate different projects, not necessarily from their interrelation in the aesthetic or conceptual perspective, but from the use of the photographic technique in the search for themes, models, forms and individual preoccupations. It has a collaborative character, since it counts with the participation of other independent institutions and galleries. Its design is inclusive and is aimed to impel, stimulate, encourage and investigate photography from the structure of a wide program that is nourished with the projects and exhibitions that the circuit of institutions of visual arts and galleries in the city may procure.

(…) During the 2016 edition on Noviembre Fotográfico several projects are exhibited in the city. Among them three shows at the Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (Center for the Development of Visual Arts, CDAV), and the main exhibition that takes place in the Fototeca de Cuba.

In the Center for the Development of Visual Arts the audience can visit the projects La suspension del deseo (The Suspension of Desire), So Last Season and La insuficiencia en la escala y el iris (The Insufficiency on the Scale and the Iris). The first of them, curated by Nahela Hechavarría and Susan Caraballo, is shaped by a selection of contemporary photography and videos of Cuban artists and residents in the United States with a diverse origin (Brazil, Salvador, Germany, Australia, Argentina, and so on) where the body as modeler and transformer of physical and imaginary spaces, from a cultural and social perspective, is the thematic axis. The proposal include video documentation of performance, intervention of the space and video art in its most abstract figuration. The Cuban artists included are Juan Carlos Alom, Leandro Feal and Alejandro González.  So Last Season, in the second floor of the CDAV, is an exhibition of the photographs made by David Stork—South African photographer living in Los Angeles—in Havana between 1990 and 1995. (…)

Lastly, La insuficiencia en la escala y el iris is a group show of Cuban photographers from a selection made in the archives of the collection of the Fototeca de Cuba which takes as a central axis the 1990s. This proposal, although linked to the criteria of one pre-existent collection, pretends to group the most acknowledged Cuban artists of that moment and those works that portray the period and narrate the life of the city, its problems and its essence.

The main exhibition, in the Fototeca de Cuba, present two interesting options. The first consists in a selection of 100 images belonging to the Photographic Archive of the Los Angeles Police. The second is an exhibition by Alejandro Campins. The proposal results of special interest, since Campins has been recognized for his pictorial work and, therefore, this exhibition comes to present his work in a new expression, assuming the photo, that before was only part of its creative process and which now shows us with absolute autonomy. The images discover empty, open spaces that have lost their functionality, where the architecture gives faith to the pass of time. They are landscapes that remind Campins work in painting, but now with a new sense and documental character. (…)

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