Kendall Art Center presents Cuban art in “Unofficial”


The Kendall Art Center presents “Unofficial,” a group show—curated by curated by Henry Ballate—including artists Alejandro Arrechea, Manuel Arenas, Ernesto Arencibia, Ángel Delgado, and Magín Pérez. The show opened on February 2, 2018, and will continue until March 4, 2018. The Kendall Art Center is located at 12063 SW 131 Avenue in Miami, Florida.

Description (Willy Castellanos): Where is it possible to place, in the course of almost six decades of post-revolutionary Cuban art, the origin of the contradictions between the official and the unofficial, between the collective and the particular, or between full adherence to the social project and individual freedom to express any distancing from this? The answer seems to go back in time, to the years after the triumph of the rebels in 1959. The truth is that the contradictions inherent in the Cuban socialist model had an early impact on artistic creation, opposing the cultural policies of the state and its institutions to not a few of the experiences that were proposed—from different practices and creative strategies—to question the paradoxes of the system and its inconsistencies.

Since then, the antagonism between the heteronomous (that which is subjected to an alien power that prevents the free development of its nature) and the autonomous (or the ability of subjects to establish rules of behavior for themselves and for others, within the limits that the law states) has conditioned a sensitive area of contemporary Cuban art, generating together a spirit of time—a critical drive—and a fertile repertoire in contempt, camouflage, alternative strategies, and aesthetic rebellions, that today identifies a considerable part of the art that is produced inside and outside the island. But how is it currently being built, the visible body of this concept that we clearly identify as the official, when the critical space of the artist transcends the borders of the island to access the global village?

Unofficial [. . .] provides a space for reflection on the subject, from a set of works by five artists graduates of the Academy of San Alejandro in the early eighties. Their works seek to create, from various strategies, an annoying noise in the homogeneous chorus of power and its social constructs—be it that of ideologies, that of finance or the press and its manipulations—as a way of establishing a nexus that is as affective as aesthetic, or recovering, from the creative gesture, the autonomous dimension of the subject and the inapprehensible essence of the artistic product.

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[Ernesto Arencibia, “La Isla,” 2017; Courtesy Kendall Art Center.]

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