The term “tropical depression” is used in meteorology to describe weather conditions in tropical regions that entail storms and lightning and a constantly cloudy sky. Of course the term also has a psychological significance. IB 6621 makes reference to a flight from Madrid to Havana, thus creating a connection between Cuba, the Old World and the exhibition. What is more, the theme of the 11th Havana Biennial in 2012 was the praxis of artistic production and the idea of social reality. So expectations, prejudices and the survey of the visible are also aspects dealt with by the three artists in this exhibition.
Flavio Garciandía (born 1954 in Caibarien, Cuba) has derived, with a certain irony, the term “New Tropical Abstraction” from “Tropical Depression”. Garciandía is regarded as one of the fathers of concept art in Central and South American and has been represented in many important exhibitions on that theme. He sees Cuba’s culture as a fusion of the most diverse influences and reference systems. Identity is multifaceted and usually determined by a gaze from outside. From this viewpoint, Garciandía’s works masterfully amalgamate elements from almost all modern art styles, focusing in this post-modern manner particularly on the flexible potential of painting.
A conceptual approach is also evident in the paintings by Raúl Cordero (born 1971 in Havana, Cuba). In our day, film has become more important than individual “static” documents, being both an omnipresent phenomenon of our current perception and historically significant for example particularly in the filmic documents of the different recent revolutions. In Cordero’s work, therefore, filmic sequences gel into blurred stills overlaid by signs and ciphers, and sometimes even by real objects (in one case spectacles, for example) or an apparently alien text. This artist’s interest in when exactly a work begins and which processes and ideas it progresses through on its way to being an artwork, also finds expression in the markings, layers and references to other media and foreign artworks which graphically extend and complete the frame of reference of his works.
Michel Pérez El Pollo (born 1981 in Manzanillo, Cuba) is the youngest of the three artists in the exhibition IB 6621. Although his paintings may seem childlike and naive, his concern is to avoid faithful accuracy in favor of a universal expression. His models are figures and shapes made of modeling clay, which he greatly enlarges and exaggerates when painting them. Pérez is more interested in the fundamental constellations of human existence and interaction than in any popular ubiquitous and increasingly hollow social criticism.
All three artists in this exhibition subvert certain current art trends, including the potentially profitable evocations of crisis in a “Pintura Tropical”. Their painting highlights the art of self-verification and contemporaneity in turbulent times and above and beyond political systems. (Text: Axel Jablonski)