In this exhibit we profit from the relationship between game and national history to explore the identity of Cuban’s contemporary photography, produced between 1991 and 2017. The symbolic limits in this period are the beginning of the “Special Period”, in 1990, and the re-establishment of the diplomatic relationships between Cuba and The United States of America, in 2014.
What is characteristic of Cuba’s photography in this period is the way of processing the accounts of history and the sociopolitical reality. Cuban photographers interact with the artistic proposals, by subordinating all devices to the need to tell the tensions between individuals and social structure. More than just a mere chronicle of the “Special Period” is a representation of the crisis space that occurs in this historical moment.
In Cuban photography, still interested in the photography field, for the traditional supports and quimic processes, the terms of “mise-en-scene” haven’t managed to displace the notion of experimentation. Is from their experimental calling that many of the authors dialogue with documentary tradition. Unlike other schools and traditions, including Latin American ones, Cuba’s photography practices keep up more with the local socio political news than with the international aesthetic-artistic trend. This gives them an immediacy and a sophisticated sense at the same time, and allows them to process local conditions of speech production moving between popular culture, political power representations, Cuba’s historical references and conceptual reflections on the photographic object.
Cuba’s contemporary photography stands out for its cleverness, that is to say, that each image needs to be read and interpreted beyond its visual appearance. These images are intelligible and encrypted objects with keys that are, sometimes, only understood locally. Its attraction to a speech discourse always at the limit of censorship, maintains a friction between what is said and what is not said, that must be politically approached, but also has a poetic dimension that should not be overlooked.
The double play of Cuban photography corresponds to a society structured from multiple dualities, where the believing of the magical world dominates over that of the icon and where the relationship between language and reality has been one of the obsessions of art for several decades.
Juan Antonio Molina
From September 13th to November 19th 2017.