Uncertainty as a condition

/ 2 June, 2015

In a conversation with an artist friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time, I had the bitter experience of more than an hour to talk only about monetary issues. Remembering those who studied with us at the Academy of Fine Arts, we agreed that almost all have taken more profitable or less uncertain paths. In those days we believed that art was a way of life and none of us seriously thought it might be a way to profit.
Some had the occasional lucky to sell at the fair, but this will not positively impact more dividends than necessary to make art. This romantic vision prudently kept us away from our production considered as a commodity with exchange value, and so we could devote ourselves to futile discussions on historical materialism, metaphysics, classical German philosophy (which we knew only by hearsay) and ways to improve our ability to capture model-like portraits au naturel.
None of us felt that at the end of the four years, these speculations about high matters of the spirit would collapse against a practice that demands much and reported too little. True, some have gradually been able to use their work in commercial terms without artistically prostituting themselves. But for others is very complex to insert their work in these circuits, and if they do not until well into years and have gained a lot of recognition.
But the issue of financial instability not only competes to artists. The episode described at the beginning is repeated again and again when I talk to my friends who are majors and engineers. With these I can at least switch the concern “money” to the question “journey”. Every day I wonder how we can explain to our relatives outside the world of art, it’s worth so much sacrifice with so little remuneration.
Being an artist today in Cuba includes the uncertainty of putting at stake everything on a vague future. Being a graduate in Cuba, usually overqualified for the so-called work we do, brings implicit economic undervaluation. We often have to suffer with much intellectual pride, as other disadvantaged handled in one day our sum of the month (or year).
But while the image of the bohemian (self) marginalized able to give everything for his passion no longer convince anyone; I personally have had to accept my romantic determination not to yield to the potential sale, after delving into my true needs of expression. But those who choose to make their artistic or intellectual production life responsibly means (among so few possible in Cuba) to the detriment of their real interests, even if though I disagree, I have to accept that they have good reasons.



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