For a stock exchange in Havana

/ 1 June, 2015

Levi Orta is on the official list of guest artists at the 12th Havana Biennial. In recent years his work has been focused on exploring the boundaries between art and politics, and in deactivating the mechanisms of power enthroned in a nation determining their visuality. His creative work is based on the absurd the social drama contains; element he uses as a trigger to structure pieces that are daughters of context.

It is nothing strange that his proposal for this year’s event is the implementation of a stock exchange in Havana, triggering a space that generally remains in a nascent status its capital market. But this proposal becomes a product of the artist’s experimentation, proving the limits of art and blurring its borders. So, pieces have emerged such as Voyeur, where he brings to light the entertainment of politicians during congresses and meetings, who from their meditative aspect browse through Internet, watch pornography or play cards. In addition, La muerte del fantasma o jugando al happy ending, where Levi Orta gave a series of lectures to a group of officers from the Interior Ministry on self- censorship of cultural institutions, is another of those destabilizing and anarchic gestures the artist wants to emphasize. Also, his series Pedofilia examines the cracks of the hegemonic culture and ridicules its flaws through drawings which, from childhood innocence, relate very actual issues such as prostitution, aging of leaders and the loss of basic values. These actions include the artist’s will to subvert the true purpose of his works, showing a changing and alternate universe.

In this sense the piece Capital=Cultura, projected in 2010 as part of the new economic opening, again reuses the context for remaking itself with the situation that opens up a propitious stage for foreign investment and the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, after more than half a century of hostilities. The work functions as a test for Stock Exchange, but does not accurately portray the technological operations of these entities; because the fundamental interest lies in studying the behavior of an economic and social structure of its kind in the space of the Biennale. Thus the viewer can become an investor of private businesses and art will undergo the feasibility of an international economic structure.

The work, which will be exhibited at the Cuba Pavilion, dynamites the environment that has emerged while questioning whether in the near future we would assimilate such organizations. Levi Orta provokes concerns with this new intention; by the time a stock exchange in the 12th Biennial of Havana leaves open many questions.

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