On the Horizon

Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection

/ 1 September, 2017

Internal Landscapes is exhibited at the Perez Art Museum Miami, PAMM, from June 9th, 2017, initiating the project On the horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Perez Collection. This project has been conceived to be divided into three successive exhibits[1] at the aforementioned institution whose purpose is to bring to light the significant contribution made to the Museum by Jorge Pérez, main patron of the institution and an avid collector of Cuban art. For carrying out this three-part exhibition, the works to be exhibited have been selected mainly from a recent donation of 170 pieces, as well as from previous donations and some new acquisitions.

To conceive the conceptual axis that would allow to intervene this collection—which is now in the Museum’s hands—in a coherent way must have been a great challenge due to its marked heterogeneity. In fact, one of the merits of this heritage is the variety of languages and discourses that are gathered. The curatorial frame and the leading plot chosen by the curator Tobias Ostrander to establish a narrative through this collection is the concept of Horizon, taken from a broad and ductile perspective, based on the idea that it expresses symbol, metaphor and mental space and not only a visual element of landscape. As the curator himself expressed in a note: “The exhibition is organized around the metaphor of the horizon line—a motif that appears in many of the works on view—and brings together a strong view of artistic practices in Cuba from the last three decades as well as works by young, lesser-known artists working on the island and across the globe.”[2]

Each of the three chapters that compose the exhibition must approach the theme Horizon from a different point of view. Therefore, Internal Landscapes consists of the first release of this extended exploration, and according to the title, we will find works in which the concept is conveyed in a manner that is more symbolic than graphic, rather related to psychology, expectations, yearnings or frustrations. On the other hand, the exhibit pretends to establish a connection between the aforementioned main notion of the word Horizon and its relation with the body, the landscape and the way in which they dialogue.

One of the works that greets us and that starts our circuit is the colossal sea made of small harpoons created by Yoan Capote in Island (see-scape), 2010. This piece is part of the already notorious series in which the author draws seascapes by using hooks. The horizon line and the ocean (main figure to express the limit illusion seen from the island) are the main elements of a work in which the drama and monumentality result is a forceful graphic statement that introduces us into the logic of the exhibition.

In this way, as we walk around we find again the figure of “water” as a link in the proposals of two artists that discourse from different spaces and perspectives. Juan Carlos Alom with the photographic series Born to be free (2012) and Antonia Wright with the video I scream therefore I exist (2011).

(…) Perhaps some readers might wonder who Antonia Wright is, as her name is not familiar among the locals and why she is included in this exhibition of Cuban art. Precisely one of the distinctive and worthy signs of Jorge Pérez’s collection, duly understood and represented in this collection, is to have assumed a wide notion of what Cuban art is. Antonia, for example, was born in Miami, from Cuban descent, and grew up in a home marked by the culture of the island, and that heritage forms part of her life and work. In the same manner, other creators of Cuban descent have been incorporated in the exhibit, like Teresita Fernández or that have emigrated from the island at any stage of their lives, like Enrique Martínez Celaya, who left Cuba when he was a little boy, or Julio Larraz, who emigrated in his early youth, even others who have moved in more recent stages and of course, artists who live in the island. This ecumenical and unbiased perspective is precisely one of the main values of this collection and what permits it to constitute a contribution in cultural terms and be coherent with contemporary circumstances in which migration flows are more and more frequent and multidirectional. Before this manner of conceiving Cuban art, we realize then that the line of Horizon, when it deals with cultural phenomena, must never be a dividing barrier, but rather an always expandable goal. (…)

[1] Abstracting History and Domestic Anxiety will be the second and the third exhibits to complete this project.

[2] On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Perez Collection. Exhibition Guide, PAMM, 2017.

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