posting 2: decima bienal habana
The Havana Biennial runs from March 27 to April 39, 2009 with 16 major installation national sites and numerous galleries and studios exhibiting works: there’s a lot of art to be seen even considering that the Morro Cabana, one of the major exhibition sites, closed early for reasons unexplained.
On the wall text (and in the excellent exhibition catalogue) curator Corina Matamoros tells us why these three: because they “are united by the same method, a similar way to produce their poetics. Surrealism meant to Wilfredo Lam what Pop meant to Raul Martinez and the trends derived from Post-Conceptualism to Jose Bedia; a model as starting point to tell of something else and in a different way.” Surely that is exactly what we’re all hoping for.
And why not consider also the wellspring culture as vehicle equal in its own way to method, style, or school. We know that Lam’s Afro-Cuban experience runs hand in hand with his surrealists’ view. All three are certainly products of their time and “region” or their culture, yet the work moves far far beyond regional concerns. Yes I’m still thinking, talking, writing about regionalism and I’m not the only one. Matamoros continues with “a model to be enriched until even its own original context could not develop it further,… an alternative form of inserting in history for the benefit of all narrative.”
Wilfredo Lam’s beautiful paintings can be read as manifestos for social change but they’re much more. The compositions are surprisingly light and warm and inviting even at their darkest. His surrealist and cubist connections to Picasso and that bunch are evident though for the first time I saw his work as the bridge straight to the heart of the next generation of Abstract Expressionists, in particular to where Jackson Pollack went.
I was prepared to dismiss Raul Martinez’ work as derivative pop repetitive graphics in no way transcending their time or purpose of heralding and furthering the cause of the revolution, but giving them second and then third moments I saw beyond that to their intimate and personal nature - though there is no escaping seeing them, at lleast in some part, as art propaganda.
Jose Bedia’s paintings take us on an exquisite journey, along a ritual procession of line, toward some certain future, with extraordinary grace and sureness of a visionary but without the slightest bit of the usual heavy-handedness of sci-fi to accompany it.
Photography was not allowed but here is one image from the catalogue.When I’m back in New York I’ll come back in and link some sites to this post.
TOO BE CONTINUED
Next stop: less formal settings / more contemporary pickings