February 19, 2020.
Art for the distracted mind
Recognized as a pioneer of Cuban video art and one of the preeminent painters of his generation, Raul Cordero (Havana, 1971) is presenting his first solo exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana. Curated by Niurka Fanego, the show brings together the first group of works that the artist has produced after leaving behind oil painting to venture into acrylic paint through airbrushing.
The tiny particles of paint that this technique produces on the canvas are small molecules, like the imperceptible atoms that are present in any form of matter. Through this process, Cordero establishes a conceptual connection between energy and matter, between perception and knowledge; an allegory that evokes what we do not see but which nonetheless exists, and a relationship transcending the visual to attain the idea.
For Cordero, the work undergoes a journey through the history of art since it has “… observed the world from three different distances: the wide, the outdoors—landscapes, seascapes, cities; the common distance of what we inhabit—interiors, still lifes, chandeliers, and other sources of light; and finally, into everything, the part that is not seen, what we think everything could be composed of. Matter, energy... ,” Cordero explains. The first two include the visible that we live with. However, it’s in the third perspective where the process of conceptualization helps us enter the realm of knowledge and imagination.
In the catalogue for this exhibition, Art for the Distracted Mind, curator Niurka Fanego states that the artist “blurs the shapes and the presence of texts whose unusual spelling helps to establish a code parallel to the images. Both elements settle the dispersion while demanding greater attention from the public. A distracted mind does not focus. It is invaded by infinite sequences of interference: text messages, physiological demands, concerns, uncomfortable temperature, anxieties; and many other things that eventually disrupt attention and disperse it, distracting it. It needs to develop the ability to concentrate in order to apprehend and establish memory.”
The exhibition will be open through March 2, 2020.
The conceptual platform for the 13th Bienal de La Habana under the theme The Construction of the Possible, proposes to be a stage for the exchange of ideas that prioritize the necessity for balance between society, culture and nature. The event is conceived as a space for artistic interventions based on the concept of art as a live event or an ongoing experience, extending beyond traditional notions of authorship and aesthetic autonomy. The project places particular emphasis on proposals that involve multiple, interdisciplinary strategies, and that convey the transformative power of artistic creation through the development of new social and symbolic relations. The project will highlight various forms of sustainability without compromising the artistic integrity of each intervention by placing emphasis on stimulating life in the community, the preservation of memory and the validation of other forms of knowledge and alternate modes of thinking, such as the search for a greater convergence between artistic creation and daily life that may facilitates understanding and solidarity between human beings.
María Magdalena Campos-Pons, an invited artist for the 13th Bienal de la Habana, presents for the biennial her project “INTERMITTENT RIVERS”, a concept founded on the idea of transformation and the healing quality of traditional cultures in the region. Campos-Pons proposes to revitalize and to heal the city through artistic gestures that will revive traditions and forgotten sites by creating artistic networks that will empower the community and create cultural pride; an emphasis on social actions that will have a long-term impact on the city of Matanzas. Campos-Pons proposes looking at the city with new eyes to reconsider its traditions, the prevalence of phantasmagoric and real memories as a subject for investigation, as a unique platform for analysis and new interpretations.
The entire concept places emphasis on the importance of artistic and institutional teamwork throughout the province of Matanzas and the importance of unifying efforts and ideas between its citizens, with Campos-Pons acting as a leader and artistic coordinator of the events. To make this project a reality, the artist counts on the support of the team of curators from the Bienal de La Habana and the Centro Wifredo Lam, the cultural institutions in the province of Matanzas, and the National and Provincial Council of Visual Arts, in addition to a group of international individuals who have followed Campos-Pons’s career closely during the past 30 years.
“INTERMITTENT RIVERS” proposes an artistic intervention that extends beyond a personal proposal, to create a work that aspires to construct a vibrant city, keeping in mind its extraordinary cultural history, the geography of Matanzas, and the tremendous tradition and patrimony of the city. Similar to ghost and underground streams, this project proposes to submerge the city and its citizens in a fresh and healing current of art and interventions that will restore life and revive the integrity and cultural role of Matanzas as seen and re-discovered by its citizens and visitors.
“INTERMITENT RIVERS” will bring a group of international artists whose work relates to the aforementioned concepts to participate in the project; they are being invited to meet and collaborate with local artists and the public.
“INTERMITTENT RIVERS” proposes
1-To collaborate with institutions in the city within all artistic disciplines.
2-To stimulate artistic collectives from a socio-cultural, educational and economic standpoint, making sure to take differences in age and abilities into account among the citizens and communities.
3-To recognize and promote individual efforts to improve the city and the resuscitation of traditions of environmental, ecological, and economic wellbeing.
4- To make Matanzas a destination, not a point along the way. Matanzas will be playing a leading role, and the project will plant a seed for the future.