Interview with Marlys Fuego

/ 30 April, 2015

The personal exhibition Pink by visual artist Marlys Fuego was opened in February 20 at Galiano Gallery. On occasion of that sample the following interview was made to her:

How was the working process of Pink?

The project Pink was conceived since 2011 and was initially designed for 23 and 12 Gallery, however, I travelled to the US and when I returned, the gallery was closed for construction problems. Incredibly the same happened to me Collage Havana, the other chosen space, which at that time was located at San Rafael Street. Finally, the specialists from Galiano gallery were interested in my work from my participation in the event Post-it. Thus I went on to integrate the payroll of the gallery, since the profile of it has been focused on the promotion of young artists from the island and so, finally, I could develop the idea.

Of course, since then the project underwent significant transformations, which marched together to the maturation process of my work. Although at first I worked the erotic theme only from painting (acrylic and oil on canvas), then I went incorporating more complex solutions, some with a factual and / or installative format using light boxes, photographs, etc. Also, a change was made especially evident conceptually because my treatment of the erotic topic rose from the simple ownership and representation of the erogenous zones to a result where the subtlety became fundamental. Then, the reproductive idea of building a sex shop was changed-due to a deep research I developed- regarding the display of a summary and reinterpretation of my creative process for about four years. But the re-creation of a space in an environment way remained, but in this the light, sound and the overall atmosphere would be exploited as detonators of the receptor’s senses. Because eroticism is the set of feelings, experiences and emotions triggered by smell, taste, touch, sound and of course sight. In short, I think I won in essence and at the same time in discursive complexity.

Are you satisfied with the outcome of the exhibition?

I never feel totally satisfied, but overall I’m happy. I wanted to work some pieces from odours and make the public to approach to phallic forms to breathe the added flavour and thus induce the viewer to star in a kind of erotic act. However, it was not possible because in Cuba I did not find the necessary conditions for the development of this type of proposal.

How did you perceive the public’s reaction? Were you surprised?

I was not surprised. I did not make a visually aggressive exhibition. My intention was to work with great delicacy. The shapes and concepts were suggested, not explicit. I simply created a scene to insinuate an experience or a state of mind to the receiver.

To what interests responds the need of addressing in your artistic proposal the topic of consumption sex and the society?

I have always worked on the issue of sexuality because I want to generalize it. And, paradoxically, it is a very intimate subject yet is massive: everybody have sex or at least crave it. It is a phenomenon of constant consumption and perhaps this explains the use in my work of an iconography or visuality characteristic of consumerist world (pink color, brightness, etc.) reinforced by the use of very contemporary materials. I want to call attention.

What do you think is the relevance of developing an art of this kind in the current Cuban society, closely linked to changes or restructurings of the economic, political and social model? Do you think your work could be proactive in this regard?

Artists, somehow, in their work deal with the erotic themes, but few have developed their creative process from this topic. I try to give more prominence to the issue, taking it a bit more seriously and not approaching it just as something visually appealing. This answers my own questions; I do it from a very personal perspective and insist on representing eroticism from all points of view, making incursions into different art forms and emphasizing its sensory aspect.

Although I must admit that the topic I approach is not new, I do believe that my work could be proactive, while I consider the universe of sexuality and eroticism is verified with increasing intensity in today’s world and in our society there are many prejudices thereon, and a remarkable lack of knowledge. In that sense I propose interpretations of a phenomenon that is the reason for the sex shop, and I use elements of these shops that are alien to the average Cuban spectator, an example would be the professional porn videos, dildos, etc., taking them to the galleristic context, as an example of what sexuality is in the contemporary world.

Overall, I think it is a controversial issue, difficult to assume also because of the wide spectrum it comprises as it can range from the simple gesture that a look involves up to highly complex expressions like sadism or sadomasochism.

In what projects are you currently working?

In April I will open an exhibition at the gallery SaltFineArt in Los Angeles, California. It is a three-personal work with Arianna Contino and Mabel Poblet because besides being young Cuban plastic artists, we have in common visual elements in which manufacture is remarkable.

For the 12th Havana Biennial I’m working on the sitting of an environmental sculpture on the facade of Galiano gallery with Marco A. Herrera. From this latest project we materialize this necessary connection between the art world and everyday space between the Art Institution and the social (or common) subject, which has been a premise defended by the international event since its genesis. For indeed, the social focus of the Havana Biennial has determined the empowerment of these projects that somehow link the artistic creation to the context in which it is originated or in which it is inserted.


Marilyn Payrol

Marilyn Payrol

(Santa Clara, 1990). Graduate of Art History at the University of Havana. Professor of Theory and Criticism at the University of the Arts (ISA). She is the editor of the website of Art OnCuba magazine. Their texts are available Artecubano News and Art OnCuba website.



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