By IRINA ECHARRY, photos: CARIDAD

Work of Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa at the 10th Havana Biennial. photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, May 1 – Pinocchio, the well-known children’s storybook character whose nose grew long if he lied, welcomes us at the entrance of the Havana Fine Arts Museum. He’s standing on top of a heap of old books, almost all of them about history, Marxism or outmoded doctrines. He’s also found pushing a line of airport luggage carts or hauling a dolly full of baggage, suitcases with Cuban soil (in the work Earth Ghost).

Further into the exposition, Pinocchio’s nose points directly at a tank’s canon. In his hand is a cord attached to a toy tank. Is he a boy playing war, or is it that war is playing a game as if it was a toy and the toy a spoiled child?

The Havana Arts Biennial has signified an encounter with artists from many countries, but what undoubtedly captivated the island’s public most has been the artists from our land. Carlos Garaicoa is one to them. With his exhibition The Amendment that exists in me, he forces us to think about contemporary Cuba.

Without forgetting the past torture and repression suffered by humanity, Carlos tries to correct the defects of today’s reality in which we live, to move away from empty slogans, suffocating silence, and the masses of individuals diluted in statistics. For this, he appeals to digital photography, installations, scale models, drawings with threads superimposed on them… and words. He uses these words to allow you to see his dissatisfaction with bland wordiness, that which lacks meaning.

Garaicoa belongs to a generation tired of listening to empty phrases and who now need to be listened to.  For that reason his photos with phrases are like shouts embarking on flight into the infinite, like white doves. “I can’t go on like this anymore. No one should have to be afraid; Fear the honesty you don’t possess; I believe in nothing, I believe in everything,” he said.

Work of Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa at the 10th Havana Biennial. photo: Caridad
Work of Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa at the 10th Havana Biennial. photo: Caridad

In his series To Finally Transform Political Speeches into Deeds, the artist created a kind of a city of billboards in which these metallic structures-usually used for political propaganda or advertising-are presented in different sizes. We can see pictures of the signs in Cuban streets, often empty, other times with posters. Using these structures, he tried to create constructive possibilities and to capture an image of daily life in this city that, according to Garaicoa, “is sure of its anxiety.”

Defining the exhibition and artist’s spirit, determined to propose changes to improve his era, he plasters the phrase, “Hounded by the word, I opt for action.” Though on the clock in the museum hall, the minute that it shows never ends.

Work of Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa at the 10th Havana Biennial. photo: Caridad
Work of Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa at the 10th Havana Biennial. photo: Caridad

Carlos Garaicoa’s exhibition is praiseworthily as is the organizing committee of the 10th Havana Arts Biennial for inviting him to participate.

Click on the thumbnails to see all the photos in this gallery


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