The Belkin Art Gallery is pleased to present The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana from January 10 to April 13, 2014. Conceived by Cuban artist and critic, Antonio Eligio (Tonel) and Associate Director/Curator of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Keith Wallace, this exhibition focuses on the social spaces and shared sensibilities of this dynamic city, as opposed to an attempt to survey an entire nation’s artistic output. The Spaces Between explores contemporary Havana from artistic, cultural, sociological, and anthropological perspectives within a new social and economic reality that has made itself evident in Cuba in recent years. While most works seem to convey a disinterest in the political, it does take form in the imagination of the viewer, an artistic strategy that emphasizes how important the spectator has become in the making of meaning in visual art. Hence the title of the exhibition— The Spaces Between —that is, the spaces between the artwork and its reception, between the said and the unsaid, and between the past and the future. This exhibition will provide an update on Utopian Territories: New Art From Cuba that showed at the Belkin and other Vancouver galleries in 1997, and will feature works by 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 Belkin Art Gallery is partnering with Black Dog Publishing to produce an accompanying catalogue that will visually document the artworks and contain essays and interviews elucidating and contextualizing the themes of the exhibition.
The Spaces Between 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. We gratefully acknowledge the support of our Belkin Curator’s Forum members.
Canada Council for the Arts
Belkin Curator’s Forum members
Essays by Cecilia Andersson, Antonio Eligio (Tonel) and Keith Wallace. As opined by the book’s title, this is a publication focused toward the shared spaces and communal sensibilities of a city, rather than an attempt to survey the entire contemporary output of this anomalous nation. In essence, the study is a concentrated one of modern Havana, taking note of those artistic, cultural, socioeconomic and anthropological influences on its art scene without intent to become pedagogic in the process. Including major contemporary figures such as Juan Carlos Alom, Celia y Junior and Eduardo Ponjuan, The Spaces Between discusses the modern current of unfocused politicisation within the work, where issues of money, identity and bureaucracy are garnered from each viewers reading and imagination of suggestion, a reflection of the current emphasis on the spectator as contributor to making meaning. Published in collaboration with the Belkin's exhibition of the same name (10 January-13 April 2014), the book maintains the ambient approach of the partnering exhibition in an attempt to depict the context of Havana artists in the modern era. In part it discusses the lo-tech necessities of modern artists working in the city today, which has formed if not a coherent style, then a municipal approach to the process. As such, much of the work uses recycled materials or simple video and text-based elements to convey its meaning in a manner more diverse and ambiguous than prior generations of Cuban artists.[more]