The people’s experience

A perspective on the 12th Havana Biennial, through the work and projects of some artists with a Cuban background

/ 31 August, 2015

(…) For this year’s Biennial, the international Art World has displayed an overwhelming reaction by coming in pilgrimage to Havana, driven by a curiosity that has gone above and beyond an interest in the art shown. It is as if today’s Havana is being looked upon as the last vestige of an era that is expected to come to an end soon. Nonetheless, the Biennial has always been a very popular event with locals and visitors, having a visible international presence and being, at one time in its history, a high point of accomplishment for the cultural politics of the current government.
Local propaganda for this edition has increased in visibility, with multicolored banners throughout the city, continuous television advertising spots and programs, as well as a special decoration at the Morro Castle lighthouse which can be seen from several citywide vantage points. With each Biennial, Havana becomes a hyperbolized city in which all the sensations associated with experiencing the place are amplified, extending the inner perceptual being, so that visitors are carried from site to site by a palpating rhythm. (…)
At this 12th Havana Biennial life became art as art became life. The blending of the quotidian with the act of creation was a great success: the lines between the two became indistinguishable, and something new was born within the city itself. There is no doubt that the city’s surviving physical canvas helped Habaneros and visitors experience the Biennial in a powerful and meaningful manner. This was urban life in the fullest sense of the concept. (…)
Havana-Miami-New York, June 2015

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