Exhibition (Review)—Geandy Pavon’s “Quarantine: 40 Days and 40 Nights”

“Cuarentena: 40 días y 40 noches” [Quarantine: 40 Days and 40 Nights] is a virtual exhibition by visual artist Geandy Pavón (Las Tunas, Cuba, 1974) to open on September 3, 2020, on the digital platforms of the Art Museum of the Americas (AMA). See previous post Online Exhibition: Geandy Pavon’s “Quarantine, 40 days and 40 nights. Edgar Ariel (Rialta) writes:

Curated by Lynette M. F. Bosch, the exhibition is an eloquent photographic essay that reconstructs the imagery of the closure during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the hashtags #AMAenCasa and #AMAatHome, the Art Museum of the Americas, belonging to the Organization of American States (OAS), has created an alternative viewing experience through its social media platforms to exhibit a “photographic exploration timely and imaginative life in quarantine,” as stated on the institution’s website.

The photographic series Quarantine … was a reaction to the home confinement and the architectural border that the home represents in moments of forced seclusion, prepared by Pavón between last March and April, when the pandemic prevented him from returning from the northern city of Buffalo, in upstate New York to his neighborhood, West New York, in northern New Jersey.

Covid-19, in its call for a state of exception, represented a reconfiguration of disciplinary techniques for immune isolation. Borders mutated and went beyond the very idea of ​​national territory to settle in the architectural perimeter of homes. Doors, walls, windows became immune thresholds.

This tension is what Geandy Pavón explores in the Quarantine photographs…, images that, far from becoming a manifest documentation of confinement, recreate (many of them) the myths, representations of faith, and prototypical symbols of art history. Explorations very different from his previous work, based, above all, on portraiture and documentary photography. [. . .]

Geandy Pavón is a multidisciplinary artist who trained as a painter at the National School of Visual Arts [Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas] in Havana, where he graduated in 1994. Then, in 1996, he emigrated to the United States and settled in New Jersey City, in the West New York.

His photographic series include The Cuban-Americans (2016), based on the notion of hyphen by academic Gustavo Pérez Firmat, Superhéroes (2014), Némesis (2010-2012), Vae Victis Vanitas (2015-2016) and Quo Vadis Cuba (2015), where he portrayed Cubans while they emigrated to the United States, in three refugee camps, on the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Pavón is characterized by addressing the evils that afflict global society, specifically the issues that delve into contemporary Cuban problems: former political prisoners, exiles, Cuban-American communities. Through photography, painting and video he expresses his observations on totalitarianism, ideology and demonstrations of power. [. . .]

In Quarantine: 40 days and 40 nights, Geandy Pavón and his partner Imara López built, with a minimum of technical resources, only the basic equipment—a Sony A7R III camera, a 50 mm lens, an off camera flash, four flashlights , a radio transmitter, a flash controller, cardboard tubes to direct light like a spotlight, cardboard to create shadows, and black tape—a photographic essay that the artists exhibited daily, between March and April, for forty days and forty nights, on their social networks. On that date, in addition, Quarantine … was enrolled in the Closed: SOS Mother Earth project, organized by the Hispanic Center for the Arts in Miami.

[From the series ‘Cuarentena: 40 días y 40 noches,’ Geandy Pavón, 2020.]

Translated by Ivette Romero. For original, full article, in Spanish, see https://rialta.org/serie-cuarentena-geandy-pavon-museo-de-arte-americas/

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