Yanelys Nuñez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES — What people thought would be the artistic event of the year was nothing other than a run-of-the-mill exhibition in the Cuban capital.
The first opening of Galeria Continua (“Continuous Gallery”) was not as spectacular as many had expected. The idea was for the artists to intervene an old, ruined cinema and theater (Havana’s Aguila de Oro) located in Chinatown. These would then be part of the select group of artists granted an exhibition space by a renowned gallery.
This exhibition would be the start of a new cycle for the directors of the Galeria Continua project, Mario Csistiani, Maurizio Rigillo and Lorenzo Fiaschi, who want to establish their fourth international venue in Cuba. In the words of Lorenzo Fiaschi, the effort is nothing other than the “building of a new bridge for and between artists.”
Susana Pilar Delahante, Elizabet Cerviño, Alejandro Campins, Reynier Leyva Novo, Jose Yaque and Carlos Garaicoa, the artists chosen for the exhibition, put their talents on display, but nothing else.
The space felt under-used.
The art on display, which, according to Fiaschi, “aimed specifically at paying tribute to the cinema,” lazily followed a dispassionate idea.
If only Campins had completely covered the walls of the main hall with his paintings, to counterbalance the veritable hurricane of objects and rolls of films installed by Yaque, subverting the ornamental aura given his piece by the fact it was located at the back, over the stage…
If only Cerviño had flooded more spaces with that uncomfortable shower of elements, avoiding expressing mere momentanous discomfort…
I don’t believe I am calling for a chic scandal of sorts, which this exhibition could well have become. I am perhaps calling for a more suggestive exhibition that will leave us a bit more restless in connection with the future of the venue.
At any rate, with this opening (titled Anclados en el territorio, “Anchored in the Territory”), Galeria Continua has already entered the space of Cuban art history. The fact it has opened a venue in Cuba, something I believe responds to historical imperatives, gives local artists another means of promoting and exhibiting their works.