In Bad Steben, a small city in the German High Franconia, to the southeast of the state of Bavaria, the Schreiner collection of contemporary Cuban graphic art has been in existence for more than twenty years. (…)
However, for many in Cuba, it is a mystery and the few who know about it remember it as a vague reference.
(…) The exhibition Kuba Ok. Arte actual de Cuba (Cuba Ok. Present Art of Cuba), curated by Jurgen Harten and Antonio Eligio (Tonel) in the summer of 1990 in the Kunsthalle in Dusseldorf, attracted Ludwig’s attention on the Cuban art of that decade, to the point of ending up buying almost all the works there exhibited. From then on, an intense relationship with Havana began. Precisely in one of their reiterated trips to Cuba, Ludwig and his wife Irene invited the Schreiners to spend vacations together with them in the Island. What in November 1993 should have been a mere pleasure tour for this couple, soon became a discovery trip. (…)
We should not overlook that their arrival in Havana was in the peak of the “special period,” one of those historical contexts when the feeling of isolation, abandonment and need to survive reached in the Island, in Lezama’s words, their “best definition.” To land in the midst of such a desolate panorama and witnessing at the same time
an art that, over and above so many difficulties in every level, was in full effervescence, was something that deeply impacted the sensitivity and artistic perception of the Schreiners. (…)
Their contact with Belkis Ayón and her work also was of vital importance. (…)
Through Belkis’s sweeping personality and her knowledge of the Cuban contemporary art scene, Stefanie and Wolfgang were able to enter through a very different path into what in those early nineties was an entirely novel and complex territory for these experts in Eastern Europe graphic art. (…)