This Girl Is on Fire: Teresita Fernández


In a recent edition of Cuba Art News, Havana-based curator Elvia Rosa Castro reflects on Teresita Fernández’s work and her current show in Manhattan, “Teresita Fernández: Fire (America).”  The show runs through May 20, 2017, at the Lehmann Maupin space at 201 Chrystie Street, New York.

Last month, Teresita Fernández: Fire (America) opened at the Lehmann Maupin gallery space on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Havana-based curator and critic Elvia Rosa Castro considers the exhibition, its impact, and its place in Fernández’s creative trajectory.

In Spring 2014, MASS MoCA opened its doors to a solo show of Teresita Fernández’ As Above, So Below, a major exhibition that included three enormous installations and “drawings.” There, in an abandoned New England factory converted into an outstanding and inviting art museum, Teresita Fernández’s show was on view through Spring of 2015, surrounded by the heavyweights of contemporary art.

Readers may recall, in particular, the installation Black Sun, because its scale and beauty prompted extensive coverage in art journals and social media forums. But this exhibition was decidedly much more: each work brought its own unique notion to a very contemporary concept of landscape that, paradoxically, came from a profund respect for the traditional and ancestral—a sophicated landscape arising from organic elements.

[. . .] Teresita also warns of our increasingly distant relationship with Nature, rooted in a robust and indifferent ego that permits its indiscriminate and brutal exploitation, so unlike the first inhabitants of these lands. Those peoples, enveloped in a pantheistic cosmic vision of existence not unlike the artist’s own, would have a more rational and sustainable methodology of slash and burn.

The self-sufficient shadow, used for ornamental purposes (as in Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows), is a key element in the work of Teresita. In this exhibition, it becomes even more severe and concise. Like Black Sun, Fire (America) is a more aggressive announcement of the end of an era, as much in its philosophic connotation as in its social. Fire, the cult element to which she had turned several years earlier, is the source of heat and life but also the image of extinction. It’s the perfect metaphor to demonstrate how we consume ourselves in our own ritual. [. . .]

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