Cuban artists exhibit in Madrid: ‘Earning a living in another country cannot kill our creativity’

Cuban artists exhibit in Madrid: ‘Earning a living in another country cannot kill our creativity’
Cuban artists exhibit in Madrid: ‘Earning a living in another country cannot kill our creativity’

A group of Cuban artists inaugurated a group exhibition in the center of Madrid on Saturday, June 8. Underneath includes works by René Francisco Rodríguez, Dayana Trigo Ramos, Victor Piverno, Francisco de la Cal, Jorge Pablo Lima, and the Spanish Miki Leal.

DIARIO DE CUBA spoke with some of these artists about the exhibition that will be open to the public for a month at the Indago gallery (Calle del Castillo 8, Chamberí). The space was an old luthiery workshop where guitars were made, and this is vindicated in the works and the setting of the exhibition: wood is present in most of the creations.

“You open a closet here and there are many guitar parts, a lot of material from the history of the place,” explains René Francisco, who summoned the rest of the participants. “So, with some of my old students, we did like a workshop and we asked ourselves what we could do with all that. We decided to do a kind of orchestration and rescue what this was originally; in the end the guitar also has a great weight in Cuba” .

“Everything has been a bit of fun,” says Víctor Piverno about the project. “A friend recently told me that in Madrid there are many social gatherings, but very few cultural gatherings, and it is true. In Havana we met in a house and held an exhibition, but here that is impossible. Those things must be encouraged as well. “

The objective of the project was to create a “distracted space”, something that in the exhibition announcement is defined as a place “where the artistic exercise relaxes and plays with that area of ​​conventional and institutionalized discourse.”

In search of “a bristling and purposeful atmosphere”, the exhibition was conceived as a work of many hands. René Francisco underlines the collectivity present in the exhibition: “Although each one has put something personal, this would connote being like a single installation. We have tried to break with the authorship of the works. There are works that have had a personal history, but we have tried to have someone else do it for you. I see it as a pedagogical exercise in which we all learn; here there is no curator to dilute the ego, the author, the director… we look for a current. that imbricates us from the guitar”.

Miki Leal presented a watercolor of his that had been stored for more than 20 years. The painting was created in allusion to the first molds of Paco de Lucía’s guitars. “That is a work that I did for an exhibition at the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in 2001 or 2002. When René came and told me that we would do something in an old guitar rack, I told him that he had the perfect piece. The rest of the artists who are here are more of the installation and the conceptual, a very Cuban idiosyncrasy. And mine came to contribute perhaps a little more color, of that more Mediterranean thing,” details the renowned Spanish painter.

For Leal, this type of initiative helps foreign artists make their way in Spain: “For them, the Spanish world is very closed and they don’t control it as much, it’s not easy. They are people who come and it takes a lot of work for them to enter the world. commercial and professional world of art I believe that this symbiosis is also happening in Carabanchel. [barrio madrileño donde radican varios autores de esta expo], generates us all living together. “We are friends, we criticize each other, we talk to each other… In the end things like this happen, which are great and everything comes together, nothing is forced.”

The fact of exhibiting in a neighborhood like Chamberí has ​​also been beneficial for the Cuban artists participating in this exhibition. “One of the things we have planned is to try to leave Carabanchel, because people have taken us as…, they have even called us petty bourgeois,” explains René Francisco. “I believe that the point is to go to the essence. And the essences are sometimes very simple, it is what one does not name. When Borges was asked what was Argentine in his poetry, he responded: ‘What there is is that “I am Argentine. We are creators, and the search for making a living in another country cannot kill us. My fear is always to lose that creative part that we had in Cuba because we have to survive in another way.”

“The interesting thing about Madrid now is that there are so many Cubans here that we have a Cuba,” adds René Francisco. “We can rescue, as I recently said to my classmate Miguel Núñez [pianista cubano]the question is returning to the ISA [Universidad de las Artes, de Cuba]. Because when you are at school in a state of absolute creation you are not thinking about whether a gallery or an institution is going to take you.”

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