Inside the prestigious Galería Habana, a collective exhibition was held last Friday, December 16, at the heart of the assistance of relevant names in contemporary Cuban art. Los Carpinteros, Yoan and Iván Capote, Glenda León, Wilfredo Prieto and Humberto Díaz, among others, presented themselves under a small, unhealthy and sadly pretentious curatorship. The domestic space and the main objects that compose it, as well as the dynamics more representative to its interior resolved, worked on this occasion as a thematic unit. Its conceptual density, as the sample’s argument, is remarkable. Even its adaptation to the eventual fashion of Foucauldian thought and its interest in the symbolic unfolding of the spaces is palpable. But it is not even minimally urgent, with respect to the Cuban context, or the global one.
In fact, the subject proposed is a “suggestive suggestion,” especially if we take into account the always controversial sense that keeps the domestic space as an intimate, unrestricted, and safe place; even more, territory of a self disguised moral molds and shawls. But (In) mobiliario did not exploit these routes in the most conscious and risky ways possible. We could say that it did not even scratch the surface of the problems of the home, or its correspondence with the insular daily life. On the contrary, it poeticized about it, summoning most of the pieces to a subtlety so erratic that seemed to be shrouded in confusion. In short, the home is lost.
Even so, there are highlighted pieces and names, exempting here the escorts of the stinking bad habit of ordering specifically for an exhibit. In the first place the pieces by Wilfredo Prieto and Yoan Capote, are both succulent delicacies. The first of them, a video projection titled Planetas (Planets), stands out not only for its high aesthetic, propitiatory of an effective estrangement of the referent, but also for the mordacity articulated in it. The scene is mundane, vulgar one would say, and belongs to a man’s intestinal space. The appearances before this artistic gesture are disarticulated. Humanity is on tenterhooks and the eschatological is derived in lyricism. On the other hand, the random movement of the fragments of fecal material in the pool of pleasure and relief, alludes to the passivity, skepticism and lack of displeasure that in Cuba is acquired which genome with the passage of the years and the arrival of adulthood. No more reason, no more utopia, no more essentialist and metaphysical junks, for in this universe of absolute design, these mandarins are leftovers. Substance of idealism, Wilfredo once again becomes cynical and monumental.
The second of these dishes is even more ironic. Yoan Capote provides us with eight electric irons. He has considered them as a platform for both writing and reading. Simulating braille characters on the surface of these pieces, he has drilled perfect holes into each of these utensils. The terrain of silence from the braille code has been analyzed and used by Capote on more than one occasion, as we know. But in this case has led to the generation, rather than a phrase or word licentious, of a false code. Illegible results in appearance for it. But in practice it is due to the threatening nature of the burning irons giving off heat and challenging the touch. Whoever dares to put his hands and risk the skin, he will find nothing at last. With this effective conceptual conceit Capote alludes to the interwoven truths inside the dwelling, and hidden both to the outside and the outsider. Also to the coexistence and its tricks of subsistence; to family stories. And more metaphysically, the voice of power and its handling of expressive freedom, truth and its codes, lies, after all.
Another of the works that attracted attention is Humberto Díaz’s Red Room No. 3, more than anything else because of the intertextual quote to Portocarrero and his paradigmatic interiors of the suburbs of Cerro, oblation to a time of sociocultural constraint and remarkable intimacy –we could almost say, interiorism– in the national plastic art. The work presented by Alexandre Arrechea is aesthetically enjoyable and stands out for the implementation of a monumentality between metaphysics and virtual, a feature that has already become a very particular stamp of his creations. And above all, to which the spectator thanks, his attempt shows the support and provocation of that healthy brain itch that always generates the volatile, the unreachable, the erotic and the neural.
But it is a pity that from such a promising exhibition we can only name a few. What is failing with curatorial exercise? It does not propose a thing in discursive terms beyond the opportune confluence of works and individualities. The argument is not urgent, immediate, or even necessary, nor is it the idea in question and the controversial field open to understand the contemporaneity. Or is that, on the contrary, the idea is not carried to full deployment and becomes only pretext. In either case, we are in danger. For we are driven to transpose ourselves in an indistinct history to ours, in alien realities, in confused coordinates. Think about whose house is intended to be sculpt here, who owns the intimacy exposed in it, who and how it inhabits it –and above all– what surrounds it.