15/ABR/19 – 03/MAY/19


Ángel Delgado / Armando Guiller / Frank Guiller / Paola Martínez / Alexis Mendoza / Naivy Pérez / Elio Rodríguez

Historically, art has always been influenced by some combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. At one extreme, a creative being’s reward for making work is the satisfaction of the creative act itself. And at the other, art is produced purely for personal joy. The right mix of talent, intrinsic motivation, and external support is needed for a sustainable and vibrant environment for artistic innovation. The autonomy of Cuban culture outside Cuba, for decades considerately used its limited resources to have the greatest impact on the rest of the world. All controversy aside, by deliberately choosing to fund the most promising artists precisely when they found themselves on the brink of a breakthrough, they effectively managed to underwrite a very fertile period of artistic production in Cuba’s art history. This exhibition explores art‘s autonomy not as a genuine theoretical claim but as strategic one, where the suggestion is that only by claiming that art is indemnified by its very nature against moral culture can we prevent the forms of censorship that art is regularly subject to; this show includes artworks by Angel Delgado, Armando Guiller, Frank Guiller, Paola Martinez, Alexis Mendoza, Naivy Pérez and Elio Rodríguez. But this strategic appeal to autonomy may purchase art‘s freedom only at the cost of denying art‘s power. Much of contemporary Cuban art seems haunted by the past, by ghostly apparitions that are reanimated in reproductive media. By using dated, passé, or quasi-extinct stylistic devices, subject matter, and technologies, this art embodies a melancholic longing for an otherwise irrecoverable past. “Past Forward” examines myriad ways into recent practice and in the process underscores the unique power of reproductive media while documenting a widespread contemporary obsession, both collective and individual, with accessing the past. The works included in the exhibition range from photography, painting, sculpture and installations…