The Fruitful Crossing of an Original Voyage

/ 19 July, 2014

(…) With a meticulous curatorship and an excellent museology, Tracing Antilles embraced various expressive means, thus emphasizing Humberto Castro’s versatility and technical mastership, with creative possibilities parodying and expanding from each of these morphologies.

(…) With a strong investigatory vocation, Tracing Antilles entered – with the same curiosity with which a child deconstructs a mechanical artifact whose ludic purpose was never accomplished – in areas where cultural, religious, social, historic, archeological and existential elements, first and foremost, create a sort of anagram condensed in this flow which, in the last instance, is the idea of movement, the idea of traveling.

And it cannot be but the idea of non-permanence, expressed by traveling, what put together the entire dramaturgy of this exhibition: a trip as a symbol, a crossing as the subject’s construction space, migration as an endemic act, as an endogenous attitude. A voyage not conditioned by the arrow of time: a perpetual voyage. Differently from that of the “stock-still traveler,” it is a trip carrying all the memory of time, as if wanting to drill the earth with experiences and fantasies. But the trip is also a return to the seed, where everything begins anew (…).A voyage as a new secularity, a trip bred in melancholy and abandonment.

The works grouped in the exhibition captivate because of a “centripetal force” where human beings are the axis, the center of the construction of meanings from which territorialities have become evident: the experience of a subject on a pilgrimage in his insularity. An experience dignified from the dynamics and the cultural processes, but which conditions the subject – a recurrent figure in Humberto Castro’s entire oeuvre – to a symbolic and ontological ruse. But since going from place to place is also a genealogical exercise, the raft the entire island is completes the repertoire of signs. The raft, the island, the isolated subject which so much reminds me Abilio Estevez’s novel Tuyo es el reino (Yours Is the Kingdom), are elements surfacing in several of the works in this exhibition. (…)

Humberto builds visualization with whites, sepias and turquoise, thus concentrating the dramatic strength of the works. At the same time, threedimensionality invaded the exhibition. Small pieces, all of them in bronze and with almost pinpoint accuracy: it can never be said that Humberto Castro tries to solve a pictorial dilemma in a different medium. And I say this with a purpose, since this “experimentation” in contemporary Cuban art is a usual practice when what actually underlies in it is nothing but the transposition of visualization commonly developed from pictorial art to other means of expression. But let us go back to what is fundamental. In sculpture, works like The Hunter (2012) and Metamorphosis (2012) stood out not only because of their expressive and almost visceral strength, but also because of the analogies Humberto Castro outlines enriching his visual discourse. These two pieces, especially, enjoy a minimalist expressive strength in which an iconoclast tradition is capsuled and satirized, thus generating a historical contradiction in terms which, in this magnetization, reinforces a “destruction of all representations” which are hegemonic.

(…) Humberto Castro develops a tension which supposes a challenge to the unknown. Tracing Antilles, for example, creates – at least, for me – an effect of circularity and fantasy overflowing, but at the same time reinforcing, an identity as ubiquity, as desire. (…)

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