Recount of a prize

Collective July 2004

Recount of a prize

When the reconstruction still did not allow us to see the artistic dimension of this new national exhibition space of our capital with an old wish of the Association of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) its Plastic Arts Section began to think of the exhibition that was to inaugurate it. It would have to be a first-class show, given the circumstances. The idea did not take long in appearing: the eleven artists who have been granted the National Prize of Plastic Arts up to the present would be the excellent exhibitors for a restored architecture, adapted to the new demands, planned with elegance and good taste, elaborated with patience and love. It could not have been otherwise; they would grant the final touch of class to this long-awaited project.

To those of us who had to prepare the exhibition it appeared as a challenge, given the diversity of discourses and techniques of these artists who have attained the highest possible distinction in the sphere of our national painting. The conducting thread would be this common denominator, and we dedicated ourselves to examine their respective careers in a very tight summary.

This particular recount is not the first one ever made. We would have to mention the one successfully carried out by La Acacia Gallery. But this one, and this is perhaps the difference, involves six more years of the necessary acknowledgment, from the one granted for the first time in 1994 to Raúl Martínez, to the one granted to Osneldo García last year.

Perhaps the circumstances of the professional commitments or actions previously scheduled by the artists did not allow us to make a more elaborated or wider selection of works, although we received the complicity of them all in the task.

However, here is the Cuban pop and Martínez abstract sgrafitto expression; the magic of volume by Rita and de Cárdenas: the symbolical suggestion of the human body, carved in the unusual wood that gains in this case a dynamic rest in the former, and the tall, totemic morphology that wants to dance in the air, also in wire-curled wood of the second; the graphic document of the revolutionary era, well-captured by Corrales with artistic mastery in his strategic framings and balanced photographic designs; the freshness of the unique art work that overwhelms us with very peculiar color in the painting collages and glass three-dimensionality of the renowned (also) ceramist Sosabravo; the non-strident and almost monochromatic abstraction of Girona; the explosion of textures colored by Vidal’s crackling palette in search of enigmatic arrangements; the naïf and adult lyricism of Jay, who always wants to tell us about the enchanted slenderness of his essential flamboyants; the coexistence of ancestral mythologies with the Cuban and universal one, artistic expression of a Mendive who sings to the omnipresence of an identity; the metaphoric game of the recurrent figures of doubled and plied paper with those of painstaking classic execution, pictorial but almost sculptural, in the superb drawing by Adigio; the sensual kinetics of the alienated forms that turn into evident tropes of the magnificent discourse by Osneldo…

We have combined these ideas with all due respect so that the great task, that of architects and artists, may appear in a sort of coherent environmental structure that tells of the best art.

Then, congratulations to Recount of a Prize in a gallery that is to become an institution of excellence.

Antonio Fernández Seoane

Artworks

The Snake's Egg

Osneldo García 1964

Depth

Osneldo García 1968

Aphrodite

Adigio Benítez Jimeno 2004

Caribbean Woman

Adigio Benítez Jimeno 2004

Happy Dream

Adigio Benítez Jimeno 2002

Woman with Three Breasts

Manuel Mendive 2001

Like an Old Tree

Ruperto Jay Matamoros 2000

Untitled

Manuel Mendive 2000

Untitled

Antonio Vidal 1999

Life and Destiny of the Author

Ruperto Jay Matamoros 1992

The Woods

Alfredo Sosabravo 2011

Untitled

Julio Girona 2000

Sueño infantil fantástico

Alfredo Sosabravo 2004

Little Hats

Raul Corrales 1960

The Three Knots

Rita Longa 1978

Cavalry

Raul Corrales 1960

Untitled

Agustin Cárdenas 1953

Untitled

Raúl Martínez 1991

I Love This Island

Raúl Martínez 1988

Artists