Art Exhibition: Luis Gómez’s “Imitación a la vida” [Imitation of Life]

In “‘Imitación a la vida’: Luis Gómez expondrá en Galería Habana,” Edgar Ariel (Rialta) interviews Cuban artista Luis Gómez about his new online exhibition, “Imitación a la vida” [Imitation of Life], on view starting March 19 through Galería Habana, Havana, Cuba. Here are translated excerpts:

For the moment, the exhibition can be visited only online, during the months of March and April. To learn a little more about critical representation, the imitative and contingency in ‘Imitación a la vida,’ we spoke with Luis Gómez.

Cuban visual artist Luis Gómez (Havana, 1968) will inaugurate Imitación a la vida on March 19th at Galería Habana. As reported on the gallery’s website, the exhibition can be visited virtually through a live streaming during the opening, scheduled for 3 in the afternoon. Subsequently, the public will be able to interact online, permanently, through the gallery’s social networks.

With Imitación a la vida, Luis Gómez, who emerges from the Cuban visual arts of the eighties, insists on the experimental mutability that has characterized him. In that experimental eagerness, he dismisses the auratic, closed, ambivalent creator, and persists in multiple, hybrid, random identities. It is a contingent randomness that links the series of paintings, collages and objects, created between 2019 and 2020, and that reinforces his “illusionist principle.”

To learn a little more about critical representation, the imitative, and contingency in Imitación a la vida, Luis Gómez was kind enough to grant Rialta a brief interview.

Luis, I would like you to tell me, in general terms, about the representation that you activate in Imitación a la vida. Where does the imitation lie?

I think it lies in representation and its displacements. In Imitación a la vida, the discourse is probably focused on how this imitation is complemented, both in art and in the life that we have had to live. It is not only a comment on social life, but also on art.

Ambiguity is a fundamental element in the exhibition, especially with regard to that cliché of the representation of life by art, thus accentuating the cynicism of the proposal or exhibition. I have been fortunate to have a text by Elvia Rosa Castro, which perfectly clarifies my intentions.

In the press release that accompanies the exhibition, it is stated that in Imitación a la vida, you mix “images from the cinema of the fifties, texts taken from classics of the crime novel and winks to the Cuban abstracts of the fifties.” Why are you taking up the collage? What is the intention?

Actually, I have not wondered much why I returned to collage. It is a technique typical of contemporary art. Today there are probably very few works that are not collages. I think that almost all my work consists of stringing together criteria and consensus to offer a new combination, a possible meaning. I think I could risk saying that there is little of my authorship in the exhibition. I’m just a person who combines things and thinks it makes sense, much like a kind of conductor.

As I have said on other occasions, I think of art as a combination, coincidence and context; and this is nothing more than a collage. [. . .]

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article, in Spanish, see https://rialta.org/imitacion-a-la-vida-luis-gomez-galeria-habana/

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