Moments of Clarity in Havana

A contemporary art exhibition in Havana, with artworks by artists from Cuba and Denmark, reflecting on the notion of MOMENTS OF CLARITY.

This art exhibition in Havana took place at one of the best contemporary art spaces in Cuba: El Centro de Dessarrollo (Plaza Vieja). The show presented artworks of two Cuban artists (Levi Orta and Lester Alvarez) and two artists from Denmark (Bosnian artist Ismar Cirkinagic and French artist Thierry Geoffroy).

The curators Tijana Miskovic and Gretel Medina decided to entitle the show “Moments of Clarity” inviting the artists to reflect on the notion of clarity as a starting point and present different interpretations of the notion of clarity as a mobiliser of human experience, the one in which we can glimpse the capacity for renewal, progress, and possible change.

“The moment of clarity is an instant of a personal experience of a vision, of a symbolic eureka, and a “not me in front of the others.” But, at the same time, light and clarity can bring blindness, preventing the clear guiding vision and direction.” Says Gretel Medina, curator of Centro de Desarrollo.

Tijana Miskovic adds, “Moments of clarity are always connected to light – be it light that flows easily and freely, creating indefinite transparency, or light that brings precise contours and clear perception. Light, concretely or metaphorically, and on a personal, socio-political, or historical level, will always be the source of visions, discoveries, or changes in perspectives we call “moments of clarity.” The invited artists have different artistic expressions and conceptual takes, so the final result was a rich, diverse exhibition.

The artists

Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL (France/Denmark) Poses a direct question in one of his works, “How to provoke the moment of clarity?” which reflects the artist’s attempt to stimulate awareness through art. As always, his work focuses on the training of awareness, making people question the world in which they live and, by that, hopefully, avoiding the state of apathy. He also presents cartons with simple drawings and textual expressions, which often include Jeu-de mot, giving an impression of the creative process through terminology or ideas on the subject in question. For example, he plays with the word clarity, opposing it to the word realité, by constructing a new word in French, “clarealité” (clareality). The cartons are also “colored” with personal feelings, giving us small openings to the artist’s universe.

Levi Orta (Cuba), Known for his subtle interpretation of social realities, he invited his mother, Niurka Mendoza, to collaborate on a contemporary art project based on the belief that her professional biography is a good tool for studying our understanding of the present and projections for the future. The mother curriculum is sufficiently metaphorical and symptomatic that it can easily be understood as a work of art. At the opening, Niurka read her CV and invited attendees to a guided tour of the exhibition, where she approached the topics dealt with from her point of view. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to think about the future from the coordinates that our parents give us.

Ismar Cirkinagic (Bosnia/Denmark), Presented a sculptural installation consisting of three parts: wood, dry leaves, and a video with a sea landscape. The wood is a railway sleeper collected in the Central Railroad Terminal of Havana, with holes filled with rice grains. This part is superimposed on the leaves collected in different green areas of Havana, such as the Quinta de Los Molinos. The installation ends in the projection of the open sea, alluding to an infinite horizon. This aesthetic interconnection of wood, plants, and the sea creates a series of associations connected with the notion of time and the interpretation of progress—the moment of clarity as a historical moment. A vision toward the future becomes unavoidably, over time, part of our past. Here we are confronted with the idea of transience. (In contrast to the notion of progress). The concept of moment of clarity appears in this work as contraposition between, on one side, being a single unique moment and, on the other, a cyclic repetition in history. —The need to throw a visionary light into the future, toward the horizon of the possible. At the same time, being confronted with the impossibility of preventing historical events from repeating themselves. These contradictions are in the artwork presented harmoniously as part of our human destiny.

Lester Alvarez Meno (Cuba) Creates artistic records of the architectural and mental spaces, which function as a lamp light against oblivion. Lester’s collaborative projects with others help create a framework o in which the self is blurred, and the collective begins to shine throw. The work, “The houses of abandonment,” is presented in the gallery space as a multimedia installation. It includes a homonyms video made in the former Conservatory of Music of Camagüey. In addition, it works such as video animations, paintings, and objects made by the artist Louis Arturo Aguirre, owner and resident of the former conservatory. Besides Lester Alvarez, we meet in the video Louis Arturo (resident of the house), the musician Denise Chong, the artist and DJ Abraham Muñoz – as well as the writer Roman Gutiérrez Aragoneses, who opens the video by reading from his poem “Eterómano de pañuelo.”

“The moments of clarity would always be connected to light – be it light that flows easily and freely, creating an indefinite transparency, or light that brings precise contours and clear perception”

From their diverse experiences and artistic languages, these artists have shared the space of creating and thinking about clarity. The exhibition is thus a result of collaboration, dialogue, and overlaps between different visual and conceptual expressions. It is a catalyst for ideas and a vehicle for reflection on the problems of history, society, and art itself. On the day the exhibition opened, El Centro de Desarrollo received a big diverse grope of visitors. It was a beautiful experience across generations, professions, and social layers. The local TV station Canal Havana was present, and the media curiosity only grew in the coming days with more interviews. We are delighted with the exhibition and its reception in the Cuban cultural scene.


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