Art Exhibition: Alejo Cañer’s “Escupir la cara”

OnCuba News announced a new exhibition by up-and-coming Cuban graphic designer Alejo Cañer, “Escupir la cara” [Spit in the face]: “To enter the cosmos conceived in the mind of this graphic designer, who is only 21 years old, you have to go through a small corridor where two rows of posters are displayed, all equally irreverent and provocative, in the cultural hotbed that is the Cuban Art Factory [Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC)].”

For Cuban illustrator Alejo Cañer (Cienfuegos, 2001) few things are as “explosive” as combining sex and politics, both create “a universe” like his, which can be appreciated in Havana, from this Thursday through January, through the exhibition “Escupir la cara.”

To enter the cosmos conceived in the mind of this graphic designer, only 21 years old, you have to go through a small corridor where two rows of posters are displayed, all equally irreverent and provocative, in the cultural hotbed that is the Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC).

In one of them, a man—muscular, handsome, wearing lipstick and shorts—carries on his shoulders another man who shows his biceps and a tattoo of the national emblem on his bare chest. Behind both is the phrase: “Military service”.

For a space of a few meters, there is everything: from a ‘pop art’ representation of Cuban national hero Antonio Maceo and one of Kim Kardashian sporting a blouse from the state Federation of Cuban Women to a naked boy in high heels hugging the leg of a police agent and yelling: “Oye policía, pinga” [Hey police, dick.]

The posters present a mix of bright colors—at times, electric—photographs with revolutionary iconography, snippets of daily life, and a “cuir” (queer, in English: not heterosexual) aesthetic that captivates the viewer. [. . .]

NORMALIZING WHAT’S ‘CUIR’ [QUEER]

The main message of the exhibition, according to Cañer, is to “normalize” what for a long time was—and in many cases continues to be—classified as “improper conduct” [conductas inapropiadas], and at the same time, to make “what is different be inserted between what is politically correct and what is correct from the state’s perspective.”

This game between the sexual and the political, he points out, walks along a thorny path that usually leads to censorship, either because of the quirky theme or because of irreverence towards the establishment. [. . .]

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For the original, in Spanish, see https://oncubanews.com/cultura/artes-visuales/escupir-la-cara-una-expo-de-alejo-caner/

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