Christoph Singler (professor of Latin American literatures and visual arts at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon, France, and author of Génesis de la pintura negra: La obra parisina de Guido Llinás) has just announced the opening of the new website created by the Guido Llinás Estate on the Cuban artist’s trajectory. As the scholar states, “the website is open for comments, suggestions, and critique; any information on Llinás’s life and work is welcome.”
Along with detailed information of the Guido Llinás (1923-2005), an extensive sampling of his work, a record of exhibitions, photographs, and a bibliography, the site includes two important critical essays: Edward J. Sullivan’s “Enigmatic and Signs: Guido Llinás” (written before the artist’s death in 2005) and Christoph Singler’s “Guido Llinás, Fragmentation and 20th Century Latin American Art” (ArtNexus, 16 June 2016).
Guido Llinás was born in Pinar del Río, Cuba, on March 21, 1923. A self-taught artist, he specialized in painting and engraving and exhibited his artwork as part of the group Los Once. According to Cernuda Arte, he graduated in pedagogy from the University of Havana and taught elementary school at the Escuela Normal of Pinar del Río and in the provinces of Artemisa and Havana until 1957. In 1959 the Cuban government awarded him a scholarship to live in Paris and work on engraving at the Hayter atelier (Atélier 17). In 1963, he became a visual arts professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Havana but returned to Paris to work and paint (from Cernuda Arte: http://www.cernudaarte.com/artists/guido-llinas/).
About his work, Edward J. Sullivan writes: “Guido Llinás left in 1953 for Paris, where he has lived ever since. The distance he felt from Havana (and his home province of Pinar del Rio) served to make his emotional and visual affinities for Cuba more acute. He continued to produce work in the abstract style he had developed by the beginning of the 1950s. The post-Cuba works often have generic titles (Signs, Black Painting, Red Painting). These paintings [. . .] blend the gestural qualities that relate him to Abstract Expressionism, with veiled references to Afro-Cuban ritual. Circles, arrows, the suggestion of an axe or a cross motif make their appearances in these pictures. None of these references specifically refer to a particular cult or form of worship. There is no instance of folkloric or primitivist self-consciousness. German art historian Christoph Singler has written eloquently on Llinás affinities for Afro-Cuban mythology, yet all instances of this is redolent of subtlety and a lack of specificity. There is no nostalgia nor overt longing for a specific time or place. [. . .] Llinás continues to evolve in a way that both testifies to his personal and aesthetic energy and to his assimilation and reinvention of the symbology of his Cuban heritage.”
[Image above: “Pintura negra,” 1969; second piece, “Untitled,” 1970.]
For the Guido Llinás Estate website, go to http://www.guidollinasestate.net/
See brief bio at http://www.cernudaarte.com/artists/guido-llinas/