After Half a Century of History…

An Approach to the Taller Experimental de Gráfica in Havana

/ 1 December, 2015

Any approach to the history of engraving in Cuba must take into account the creation of the Taller Experimental de Gráfica de La Habana (Graphic Experimental Workshop, TEGH in its acronym in Spanish) in July 1962, which marked a turning point in the development of this expression in the island. An important step had already been given by Carmelo González and a group of artists in the Cuban Engravers Association (1949) when estimating the aesthetic qualities of the genre and endowing it with a value in the national artistic panorama since, as it is well known, from the beginning of engraving in Cuba in the 18th century it was always dealt with prejudices.

[…] Not exempt from vicissitudes, the Workshop has known how to maintain itself with the pass of time, negotiating the limitations of an economic nature and trying to renew from the postulates that gave place to its foundation. Its present director, artist Octavio Irving, who assumes the challenge of recovering the vitality that has characterized this institution, projects himself with this perspective after several years of some inertia. The Eighth National Engraving

Meeting, held in 2013, six years after its former edition, allowed a reflection on new concept regarding graphic art and the way it is brought up to date with the new times.

[…] Nowadays, visiting the TEGH, retracing the steps between machines and desks, becomes a pleasant experience when discovering a staff of artists from various generations, whose works stand out because of the experimentation with diverse techniques and supports and, above all, by a great creative sense. Although thematic motivations and aesthetic concerns are diverse in each of them, the mastery of the trade and the need to make from engraving an active manifestation which also transforms and adapts to its times joins them together. So besides from impeccable xylographies, lithographies, chalcographies or colographies, we find mixed media works experiencing with several of them, or combining them with photography, digital print, installation or video. […]

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