How to take to the institution by force

About Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara´s work

/ 1 July, 2015

Not being invited to participate in an exhibition is an obstacle to those who consider institutional decisions as an impediment. But there is another position that at least in young Cuban art appears few: entering by force. Clearly, not all artists can face in this way to institutionalism and emerge unscathed in the act. One of them is, without doubt, Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara.

In Post-it no one called him; he was not even interested in presenting his project to the authorities of the event. Sublimely made-up, with a flashy suit and a white rabbit proper of Beuys, he walked through the crowd interacting with the public. Alcantara intended to cut the rabbit’s head, which would have caused quite a stir; instead, he was invited to enter the catalog if giving up performing the sacrifice.

The imprint of his work is in making us feeling uncomfortable. We can not expect a nice piece by this artist; however, beauty is implicit in the aesthetic conception of the fact used as operation. It is not pernicious that we can recognize patterns in his work, as in his case the repetition of an ideo-aesthetic solution will not end until being completely exhausted. In this regard we recognize the use of poor or recycled materials, the reference to mass culture and pop, Afro-Cuban imprint, exacerbating the grotesque in representation and the document as support of a gesture in one of its stages of development.

I am among those who believe his confrontation with the institution (including the police) will last as long as the duration of the lack of necessary recognition. But I also believe that the bomb that makes his artistic boldness to flow is what will accelerate the earned targeting process, which he still wrongly failed to reach entirely.

If they intend not to accept it, they will have to accept anyway, because Alcantara is willing to sacrifice the rabbit, but also to rethink with cold mind the possibility of cynically negotiating with the authorities, as long as the exchange to happen on his own terms. I would like to see what happens when his name to be something common inside and outside Cuba and the market bonanzas to begin to increasingly require him, the extension to infinity of the mode of making that took him to success. Perhaps by that time his work has evolved enough for, even reluctantly, being included in the glamorous catalog of the most important exhibition.

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