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Announcement
April 8, 2014

The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana

Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at University of British Columbia
Juan Carlos Alom, Las plantas medicinales florecen de nuevo / Medicinal Plants Flourish Again, 2012. Gelatin silver print, 48.7 x 47.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

After a successful three-month exhibition at the Belkin Art Gallery, The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana will close on Sunday, April 13. Conceived by Cuban artist and critic Antonio Eligio (Tonel) and Associate Director/Curator of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Keith Wallace, the exhibition focuses on the social spaces and shared sensibilities of artists in this dynamic but complex city. It explores contemporary Havana from artistic, cultural, sociological and anthropological perspectives within a new social and economic reality that has made itself evident in Cuba during the past decade.

Co-produced with Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweden, the exhibition will run in Umeå from February 8 to April 19, 2015.

 

Catalogue release
The exhibition is accompanied by a 128-page fully illustrated book, co-published with Black Dog Publishing of London, featuring essays by exhibition curators Antonio Eligio (Tonel) and Keith Wallace, as well as writing by Cecilia Andersson from Bildmuseet, Umeå University. The essays provide a contextual account of Cuban art during the past three decades, as well as carefully tracing the current perspectives on some of the work and issues that have emerged in Cuba during the past decade. The artists represented share a new engagement with the current socio-economic and political changes taking place in Cuba, and the underlying anticipation about what the future will bring.

In his essay, Wallace writes: “The Spaces Between focuses on a particular city in a specific national context and affords a tangible sense of Havana, the challenges it faces, and the artistic strategies at play. But we are reminded that deficits—social, political, or otherwise—similar to those in Havana arise in other parts of the world as well, and give pause to think about one’s own circumstances. Are not all social and political systems struggling in some way, and are we not waiting for things to change?”

The book is available for purchase at the gallery, or through Amazon and other bookshops.

The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana
ISBN13: 9781908966544

 

More about the exhibition
The title for the exhibition and accompanying book, The Spaces Between, emerged from the receptive spaces that exist between the artwork and its viewer, the anticipatory spaces between Cuba’s actual past and its imagined future, and the ambiguous spaces between language and its ability to communicate clearly or truthfully. The exhibition features some seventy works, including drawings, paintings, prints, photographs and videos, by fourteen artists: Juan Carlos Alom, Javier Castro, Sandra Ceballos Obaya, Celia – Yunior, Ricardo G. Elías, Luis Gárciga Romay, Luis Gómez Armenteros, Jesús Hdez-Güero, Ernesto Leal, Glenda León, Eduardo Ponjuán González, Grethell Rasúa, Lázaro Saavedra González and Jorge Wellesley.

The artists in the exhibition are cross-generational; some have international reputations while others are younger and not so well known abroad. Some of the artists are teachers of other artists in the exhibition, thus there exists a legacy that threads through the exhibition. While the validity of exhibitions based around national or civic parameters have come under critical scrutiny; Cuba, and in turn, Havana, present a different context. Cuba, due to its internal political agenda and lack of physical access to the outside world for most of its citizens, tends towards an introverted and a self-conscious sense of identity within a global context. The artists in The Spaces Between are exploring ways of articulating this phenomenon both through direct social engagement and through practices carried out in the privacy of one’s studio.

The Spaces Between is the first major exhibition in Vancouver of art from Cuba since Utopian Territories that took place in seven galleries in 1997. The exhibition is curated by Antonio Eligio (Tonel) and Keith Wallace and co-produced by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, and Bildmuseet, Umeå University, with support from The Canada Council for the Arts.

For more information, contact [email protected] or visit www.belkin.ubc.ca.

 

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