In Havana, Personal Museums and the Bittersweet Influence of Sugar – Google Alerts

Since April, visitors to the Cuban Art Building of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes have been greeted by a series of installations by some of the island’s top international artists.

Together, the six works comprise Museos interiores (Interior Museums). Fully occupying the building’s ground-floor galleries, the exhibition introduces La Posibilidad Infinita. Pensar la nación (Infinite Possibility: Thinking the Nation), a suite of five shows exploring Cuban history, identity, and ideas of nationhood.

The first work that visitors encounter is sited on the entrance plaza outside the museum: Arpegio, a graceful arc of steel by José Villa. According to curator Corina Matamoros, Arpegio is an invitation—“a link between passersby and the sculptural tradition of Cuban art.”

José Villa, “Arpeggio”
Photo: Cuban Art News

Inside the building the visitors are greeted by José Manuel Fors’s new installation, Las materias.

Installation view of José Manuel Fors, “Las materias,” 2019
Photo: Cuban Art News

“In this sculptural memory,” writes Matamoros, “is an authorial temperament willing to think about the simplicity of the materials, the recycling of elements, and the biological, historical, and technological cycles of existence.”

Kcho, “Regata,” 1993
Courtesy Online Tours

Nearby is Regata (1993), an early work by Kcho, comprised of small carved boats and the flotsam left behind by departing rafters. Regata, writes Matamoros, “prefigured the painful migratory events that broke out on the coasts of the country in 1994. It is an exceptional lesson of living history.”

Close-up detail of Kcho, “Regata,” 1993
Photo: Cuban Art News

Alacenas (Cupboards, 2016) is one of the last works by Los Carpinteros before their creative partnership dissolved. The deceptively simple installation consists of a line of battered kitchen cabinets, which hold the sounds of violent hurricanes behind their doors—“a moving social vision of the enraged storms…

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