On Artists, Honeys and Countries

About the exhibition Agave y Caña

/ 1 March, 2016

Agave and sugar cane (caña de azúcar) are plants, the first one native of Mexico and the second the so much well-worn heroine in Cuban history. If they have something in common, it lies in that sweet taste associated with the honeys of which both may be proud. Perhaps thinking on that, or just because their names talk per se of this countries, the title was given to the exhibition that opened its doors in October 2015 at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico in Miami. So, Agave y Caña (Agave and Sugar Cane) becomes the exhibition venerating the Cuban art that has gone through Mexico in recent decades, particularly that generation that migrated between 1989 and 1994, “after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the deep ideological and economic crisis that would ensue”. This is how investigator, artist and curator Aldo Menéndez, one of the main “architects” of this exhibition together with his wife, Cuban artist Ivonne Ferrer, both living in Miami, annotates in the words of the catalogue.

How to make an exhibition without hurting anyone and that, in its turn, would be a true map of this encounter? How to achieve that this same encounter, based on the proposed idea, could take into account variety and, above all, quality? “It was impossible for all to be there”—Aldo insists— (…) Names as those of Ana Albertina and Adriano Buergo, Carlos Cárdenas, Carlos Estévez, Arturo Cuenca, Flavio Garciandía, Glexis Novoa, Segundo Planes, Rubén Torres Llorca, Pedro Vizcaíno, Cedey de Jesús, Violeta Roque de Araná, Florencio Gelabert, Alejandro Aguilera, Consuelo Castañeda, among others, define the list of the exhibition.

(…) If we had to think on an idea beating behind this show, its merit lies in making the extraterritoriality of Cuban art visible, that transnational mark that not only goes on the topics, but and above all, assumes other spaces as its own, as happened with that in Mexico. A history materializing beyond political systems and ideologies, at the end a country as vibrant from art as Mexico receives the art of the island. (…) Perhaps to symbolically return, as the only way to increasingly reinstate the image of art being what is important and extends beyond limits, names and boundaries. Cuban art has lived from that expansion and Mexico knew how to appreciate it.

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