Gustavo Pérez Monzón is a name surrounded by mythological resonances. He was one of the most energetic artists in the 1980s. He quickly developed a very peculiar visual and conceptual poetics. He was the protagonist of the most important expositions from the beginning of such decade because of his historic significance. Festival de la pieza corta, Volumen I, or Sano y sabroso are three paradigmatic examples.
However, towards the end of the famous 1980s, Gustavo Pérez Monzón decides to abandon the artistic creation by his own choice. He goes into a long silence, into a premature retirement of his own aesthetic work.
Perhaps it is due to the previous stated reasons that the retrospective exposition of this rare avis of the Cuban art, exhibited at the National Museum of Fine Arts, has received so enthusiastic reception. The extensive list of works of art belongs to Ella Fontanals Cisneros’s collection, manager of this great project. The curatorship is in the hands of René Francisco Rodríguez and Elsa Vega.
Without doubt, we are talking about an exposition of great importance on account of a number of reasons. First of all, it shows the way in which Pérez Monzón’s works of art developed throughout the whole 1980s, but neither in a linear nor in an explicitly chronological way. Second, it provides an essential source of information to the Cuban art historiography. Third, it gives back life to the works of art created by the absent artist when they are visible to the contemporary public.
Furthermore, the exposition has as an additional attractive three massive pieces of art that the artist made in situ. A symbolic act, as a way of saying it, which demonstrates Pérez Monzón has not lost his inventiveness, technical skill, and ability to enthrall the audience, especially by using the energy that comes from his complex visual configurations.
Vilos is a great installation made of thread and stone from rivers. It has an incredible energetic magnetism and an endless visual lyricism. It is a labyrinth of thread that diagrams in its crossroads, different shapes and geometric figures. He uses stones that are hanging as to make a set of black dots that provide thickness or corporal qualities to the weightlessness of that web. A weaving of poetic forms that we can metaphorically relate, if we want, to a map of neuronal connections or the hidden mold of chemical or physical phenomena. Perhaps a great expansion of matter, with the chaotic encoding that underlies, levitating in the air to our contemplation.
The exposition demonstrates Gustavo Pérez Monzón’s enormous talent to generate abstract visual configurations from a set of relations among dots located in the space. In the works of art from the early 1980s, dots were arranged as to form numbers. However, towards the mid-1980s, you notice a derivation towards a more pictorial abstraction, a more carefree and colorful geometrics if you like.
In any case, it is a painting that demands from us an unprejudiced look, open to the most implausible ways, for being unprecedented. It is a kind of work of art that can only be created by such an imaginative and sensitive artist.
–Dr. Hamlet Fernández