That Is Not My City

Maria Matienzo Puerto (Photos: JLB)

From “Boxing citadino” de Jesus Lara.

HAVANA TIMES — We waited an hour outside the Ciudades del Mundo gallery (L y 25, Vedado. My expectations grew. I figured that the entry was going to be spectacular.

The poster of the entrance showed Jesus Lara the artist, menacing with his fists and his aggressive look while announcing “Boxing citadino”, which then made you want to know how a boxing ring could be combined with an art exhibit.

The doors opened at 8:00 sharp, but the ring wasn’t set up and nor was the artist waiting for us with the performance I had imagined.

Instead, he showed us pictures of cities to the beat of techno music, which revealed more about the entrance to a new/another world than it did the dynamics of the city.

People entered into a gallery that was divided by rounds in which photography and the installation mixed. We continued until we got to the main hall where the images were autobiographical: showing the artist boxing against himself and a victim on the ground, which I suppose was him too.

There was also a lot of writing attached to the wall – explanatory writings, biographical texts, in short, everything unnecessary. I think the exhibition space, even when it uses text as an expression, must leave me a space to exercise my intelligence.

Nothing really moved me. What perhaps weighed most in the preconceived ideas that I had formed in my head were my expectations or the influence of Rene Peña in the treatment of the body in relation to blackness, violence, life.

Or maybe, it’s simply that I was alienated, insensitive and didn’t relate to it because it was a bad day to appreciate the work of Jesus Lara.  The show continues through June 17th.

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Maria Matienzo

Maria Matienzo Puerto: I dreamed once that I was a butterfly who had come from Africa and discovered that I had been alive for thirty years. From that time on, I constructed my world while I was sleeping: I was born in a magic city like Havana; I dedicated myself to journalism; I wrote and edited books for children; I met to discuss art with wonderful people; I fell in love with a woman. Of course, there are certain points of coincidence with the reality of my waking life and it’s that I prefer the silence of reading and the pleasure of a good movie.

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