An artist bathes in the Ganges

(An artist living between Zen & house music)

/ 1 December, 2015

Elizabet Cerviño (1986), who knows how to paint properly, was five years away from traditional pigments and without touching a paintbrush. It was when she studied in the High

Institute of Arts in Havana. Her tendency towards radicalism, together with the prejudices of a teaching promoting other artistic practices and scorning painting, as well as the disenchantment itself of the youngster before a phenomenon of popularization and corruption of the genre, kept her focused on performances and ephemeral actions of povera display where the closest landscape intervened: Cubanacan1 campus itself. This was her “provisional home” and with it she established an almost inbreeding and tautological relationship: landscape above landscape.


Not entirely happy with Mitos de la gruta (Myths of the Cave), she prepares frames and canvases, crude linen to be exact. Consistent with the use of water, especially in her performances (even with that of bathing and not drying), she plunges the linen into buckets and soaks it in a way that only she knows because her intuition, talent and trade allow her to, leaving it like that for days, bundled together. When taking it out, water has left its stamp on the fabric, but it is not any other stamp but one of landscapes, subtle but clear. Abstract and figurative. Immense.

(…)in that fusion from a soft ego with the environment, just as it allows her to know it, in that precise measure, Elizabet (re)cognizes herself. In other words, and also in a very intuitive manner, Elizabet is at last her own work.


I thought I knew everything about Elizabet, but looking at her dossier I noticed something: her performances invariably follow two directions and her performances, invariably, end in one topic: that of Creation. If someone wishes to study her work I can smooth the path saying that her performances, in some cases, resort to water, in others to clay, and that these last ones, generally, are a tribute to the sculpture.9 Chubasco (Rain Shower) and Bautizo (Baptism) in the first group; Descanso (Rest) in the second.10 I can also say that in some of her performance apparitions she is hidden (Una gota de agua que se pierde en el océano – A Drop of Water Lost in the Ocean, Manto de fe – Robe of Faith), which constitutes a curious fact within the performance tradition, more given to egocentrism and the physical presence of the artist.

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