Cuba

A "classic" Cuban Pavilion for the Venice Biennale?

The last two editions the Cuban presence at one of the most significant artistic events in the world, the Venice Biennale, are appealing in that they reveal concepts and images from a country that used to be, for the most part, an outsider at these mega events. The 55th Venice Biennale also has a Cuban pavilion and its “central” location at the National Archaeological Museum in the Piazza San Marco gives one the impression that Cuba could be read as a museum piece as well as its mirror image, in the sense that it supplements a tradition and history of “museum pieces” generally excluding the Third World.

The name of the show was “La perversión de lo clásico: Anarquía de los relatos” (The Perversion of the Classic: An Anarchy of Narratives). Yet even as the classic space imposed a conceptual framework, the artwork of the seven Cubans artists – living on and off the Island – tried to establish a dialogue with the museum context, while at the same time emphasizing some Cuban issues: emigration (Sandra Ramos), the possible future of the country (Liudmila & Nelson), the history and the construction of Cuban identity (Antonio E. Fernández)…

Cuban contemporary art has been always critical since artists participate in cultural debates not just about aesthetic concerns but also social issues and politics. The Cuban pavilion, however, has no intention of keeping the focus on a limited, local narrative. On the contrary, the artists dive into the relationship between power and information, explore the use of new media and even make coy references to how the system of biennial international art exhibitions can legitimize or exclude an artist (Lázaro Saavedra): the globalization of art is often just a façade for oppression, not an intrinsic conceptual necessity. The support for this show came from the organizers of the Havana Biennale, at least conceptually speaking.

Nahela Hechavarría

http://venicebiennale2013.ideologicalguide.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/venetie_small_2x.jpg

Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Miria Vicini
Artists:
Liudmila Velasco; Nelson Ramírez de Arellano Conde; Magdalena Campos-Pons; Neil Leonard; Sandra Ramos; Glenda León; Lazaro Saavedra; Tonel (Antonio Eligio Fernández); Hermann Nitsch; Gilberto Zorio; Wang Du; H.H.Lim; Pedro Costa; Rui Chafes; Francesca Leone
Curators:
Jorge Fernandez Torres; Giacomo Zaza
Open Call?
No
Selection procedure:
The commissioner has appointed the curators who in turn have invited the artists.

Curator

Name:
Giacomo Zaza
Gender:
Male
Born:
Cuba
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Curator

Name:
Jorge Fernandez Torres
Gender:
Male
Born:
Cuba, 1965
Lives and works in:
Cuba
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Glenda León
Gender:
Female
Born:
Cuba, 1976
Lives and works in:
Cuba and Spain
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Lazaro Saavedra
Gender:
Male
Born:
Cuba, 1964
Lives and works in:
Cuba
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Tonel (Antonio Eligio Fernández)
Gender:
Male
Born:
Cuba, 1958
Lives and works in:
Canada
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Francesca Leone
Gender:
Female
Born:
Italy, 1964
Lives and works in:
Italy
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Rui Chafes
Gender:
Male
Born:
Portugal, 1966
Lives and works in:
Portugal
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2
Represented by galleries in:
Lisboa

Artist

Name:
Pedro Costa
Gender:
Male
Born:
Portugal, 1959
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
H.H.Lim
Gender:
Male
Born:
Malaysia, 1954
Lives and works in:
Italy
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Wang Du
Gender:
Male
Born:
China, 1956
Lives and works in:
France
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Gilberto Zorio
Gender:
Male
Born:
Italy, 1944
Lives and works in:
Italy
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
5

Artist

Name:
Hermann Nitsch
Gender:
Male
Born:
Austria, 1938
Lives and works in:
Austria
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2
Represented by galleries in:
Austria and New York

Artist

Name:
Sandra Ramos
Gender:
Female
Born:
1969
Lives and works in:
Cuba
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1
Represented by galleries in:
Mexico City, Miami, New York and Tokyo

Artist

Name:
Magdalena Campos-Pons
Gender:
Female
Born:
Cuba, 1959
Lives and works in:
The United States of America
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Neil Leonard
Gender:
Male
Born:
1959
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Nelson Ramírez de Arellano Conde
Gender:
Male
Born:
Germany, 1969
Lives and works in:
Cuba
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Liudmila Velasco
Gender:
Female
Born:
Russia, 1969
Lives and works in:
Cuba
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Politics & Economics

State System:
Single-party state
Ruling Political Party:
Marxist–Leninism
Population (World Bank, 2011):
11,253,665
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$5,397
Net OECD ODA Aid Received (2011):
$83,440,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$93,735,093

Alliances


Non-Aligned Movement
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1902 (from the United States of America)
Last Major Border Revision:
1934 (Platt Amendment including the agreement of the long-lease of Guantanamo Bay to the USA)
Colonial History:
Former Spanish colony
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
No ranking
Nuclear Force?
No
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Cuba represses virtually all forms of political dissent. Despite reforms, the government of Raúl Castro continued in 2012 to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions and forced exile. The USA keep Cuba under economic embargo since 1960.