Havana Biennial Preview: Independent, Collateral, and Official


The Havana Biennial opened today and Cuban Art News gives a preview of the many exciting events and features this year.

With the XIII Bienal de La Habana set to open on Friday, here’s a quick look at some of the exhibitions—independent, collateral, and officially part of the Biennial—that will open along with it. Events are listed in chronological order, starting today. Opening dates and times are given if we know them.

For more on the Biennial, check our past previews on Detrás del Muro, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and the Biennial in general.

De la chinoiserie al arte contemporáneo: Muestra colectiva de arte chino, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam; San Ignacio #22, esq. a Empedrado, Habana Vieja

The Wifredo Lam Center is the bustling, administrative heart of the Bienal, but it’s also an art space in its own right. For the Biennial, the Center is presenting a show of ten contemporary Chinese artists, curated by Zhang Siyong of the Hanwei International Art Center, China, and Teresa Toranzo Castillo of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

Wednesday, April 10, 6 p.m. The Faces of SACO, Espacio Aglutinador; Calle 24, esq. a 6 #602, Vedado

More than 20 years ago, artist Sandra Ceballos pioneered the idea of an unofficial art space in Havana. Despite damage from Hurricane Irma, Espacio Aglutinador is still going strong. For the Biennial, Ceballos will present The Faces of SACO, a show of her own art, along with works by other Cuban artists. Invited participants include José Ángel Vincench, Omar Pascual, Carlos Garaicoa, and Antonio Eligio (Tonel). Espacio Aglutinador will be open throughout the Biennial from noon to 8 p.m.

Thursday, April 11, 7 p.m. El circuito del arte cubano, Galería El Apartamento; Calle H esq a 15 #313 apto 3, Vedado

This group show features work by 13 artists, including several who are participating in official Biennial projects and exhibitions. The artists on view include Arlés del Río, René Francisco, Eduardo Ponjuán, Levi Orta, and Diana Fonseca, among others.

Thursday, April 11, 7:30 p.m., Sitio en construcción, Galería La Nave; 18 e/ 5ta y 7ma, Playa

At La Nave gallery in Playa, Moisés Finalé is setting up a work-in-progress: 10 panels, each more than 30 feet long. Finalé will start two of them; the rest will be painted, each Wednesday of the Biennial, by 10 artists of different generations. Among them are Alberto and Alejandro Lescay, Nelson Villalobos, and Lucia Zalbidea. The public is welcome to observe the Wednesday painting sessions.

Thursday, April 11, 8 p.m., Obsesiones y acumulaciones: el gabinete del artista, Estudio Figueroa-Vives and the Embajada de Noruega en Cuba; Calle 21 #303 e/ H e I, Vedado

As the theme of an exhibition, artists’ “obsessions and accumulations” accommodates a wide variety of work. Take for example, the data-driven, hi-tech installations of Fidel García. “In his works we can find patterns of social behavior and collective intelligence analyzed through the flow of information in different medias,” curator Cristina Vives has written. On the other hand, there’s the series El rostro de la nación by Alexandre Arrechea, plus work by Lorena Gutiérrez, Javier Castro, and otoher artists.

Friday, April 12, 11:30 a.m.­, Intersecciones, Factoría Habana; O’Reilly #308 e/ Habana y Aguilar, Habana Vieja

Curated by Factoría Habana director Concha Fontenla with Isabel Moura Mendes and Natalia Palombo [. . .] the show brings together ten Cuban artists—including Alexandre Arrechea, Yoan Capote, Carlos Garaicoa, and the two former members of Los Carpinteros, Marco A. Castillo and Dagoberto Rodríguez—with artists, architects, and designers from Mexico and Africa. [. . .]

Saturday, April 13, 11 a.m., Una piedra en el zapato, D’Nasco Studio; Espada #214, e/ San Lázaro y Jovellar, Centro Habana

With this year’s Biennial, curator Elvia Rosa Castro—a mainstay of the past two editions of Detrás del Muro—is scaling down with a smaller, more intimate show at D’Nasco Studio. The artists she has selected are what she calls “a stone in the shoe”—having a “critical conscience and an attitude of non-complacency.” The list include well-known names on the global art circuit—Luis Camnitzer, Pablo Helguera, Rafael Domenech & Rirkrit Tiravanija—along with younger and emerging artists like Amanda Alonso and Evelyn Aguilar.

Saturday, April 13, 4 p.m., José Yaque: El dilema del ciempiensamientos, UNAICC Colegio de los Arquitectos; Call Humboldt #104 esq. Infanta, Vedado

Look for thickly painted abstract canvases and installations in Yaque’s solo show, presented in the Art Deco Colegio de los Arquitectos building in Vedado. The exhibition title translates, loosely, as “The Dilemma of the Centipede-Thoughts.”

Sunday, April 14, 5 p.m., Detrás del Muro; Malecón 307 esq. Galiano

Spreading farther along the Malecón waterfront promenade—and at various points inland—the third edition of Detrás del Muro features a mix of open-air projects by Cuban and international artists. Read more here.

Monday, April 15, 6 p.m., Manuel Mendive: Si Dios y Eleggua quieren, todo es posible; Parque Central and Galería La Acacia

Performance works by Manuel Mendive have been high points of past Biennials, and this edition is no exception. At Havana’s Central Park, the performance Los Abrazos begins at 6 p.m. Dancers, with their bodies painted by Mendive, will parade to La Acacia gallery, accompanied by the musical group Nuestro Tiempo, led by Enrique Pérez Mesa, playing “Quiéreme mucho.” A reception at the gallery follows.

Monday, April 15, 6 p.m. (preview) and Friday, April 19, 5 p.m. (official opening), NPC: Non Playable Character, Fanguito Estudio; Calle 30 #224 e/ 21 y Pasaje A, Vedado

Rodolfo Peraza has long been an active proponent of game art, digital art, and international collaboration, and the show at his Fanguito Estudio is no exception. In addition to Cuban artists like Rewell Altunaga, El Diletante Digital, Naivy Pérez, Filio Gálvez, the art duo Serones, and Peraza himself, the show’s international participants include Vuk Cosic, Yucef Merhi, and Nina Coulson, among others.

The exhibition’s topics include emergent digital communities and the Internet as a platform for surveillance; and control of fake news and missed information; and new perspectives on virtual communities.

Monday, April 15, 8 p.m. Ficción, Procesual Art Studio; Calle 17 e/ 20 & 18, #1217, Apto 1, Vedado

This group show features a cross-generational roster of Cuban artists, including Cuban National Art Award winner José Manuel Fors, cutting-edge photography artists René Peña and Rodney Batista, and ten more.

Tuesday, April 16, 7 p.m. Las líneas del deseo, Galería Servando; Calle 23 esq. 10, Vedado

Photographers Juan Carlos Alom and Alejandro González join in a double show exploring the nature of desire, interpreted from the artists’ distinct points of view.

Tuesday, April 16, 8 p.m. Illness Has a Colour, Antigua cristalería “El Espejo”; Calle Lugareño e/ Almendares y Requena. Plaza de la Revolución

Curated by Daleysi Moya, this show includes 30 artists and artist groups—among them Alexandre Arrechea, Celia-Yunior & Henry Eric Hernández, Carlos Garaicoa, and Reynier Leyva Novo—who explore the physical and emotional dimensions of illness and disease.

Analytical Boards, Riera Studio; Calle Marta Abreu #202 e/ 20 de Mayo y Enrique Villuendas, Municipio Cerro

Artist Samuel Riera is another pioneer of Cuban art, who has been drawing attention to art brut and outsider art on the island. For the Biennial, Riera will present the series Analytical Boards, as well as works from the Art Brut Project Cuba.

[Photo above: “Cabezas,” a performance work by Manuel Mendive performed during the 11th Havana Biennial in 2012. Courtesy La Jiribilla. Srouce: https://cubanartnews.org/2019/04/10/havana-biennial-preview-independent-collateral-and-official/]

For full review, see https://cubanartnews.org/2019/04/10/havana-biennial-preview-independent-collateral-and-official/

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