Cuba Libre

Art and Contradiction at the Havana Bienal

Harboring odd contradictions: a detail of Esterio Segura’s installation Espacio Ocupado por un Sueño (Space Occupied by a Dream)
photo: Kim Levin
Harboring odd contradictions: a detail of Esterio Segura’s installation Espacio Ocupado por un Sueño (Space Occupied by a Dream)

But Tania Bruguera's performance/installation in a pitch-black tunnel—abruptly de-installed the day after it opened—was the most memorable piece. Treading blindly for what seemed aeons in oppressive darkness on an instable mush of fermenting sugar cane stalks, nearly overcome by the sickly sweet smell, you approached a faint ray of hope: the dim glow of a TV hanging overhead. On it was a video collage of Castro's life. And as you turned back, all senses on total alert, you faintly perceived the presence of bare living bodies, endlessly rubbing their mouths or slapping their thighs. Some viewers saw a man and a woman, others insisted there were four males. Like Cuba itself, it was a total sensory experience—contradictory, illusive, and hard to fathom. It summed up the invisibility, the toxic presence, the history of exploitation, and the heart of darkness. "It's like Cuba," said the Cuban artist. "It's sweet. It can be dangerous. It's intoxicating." As an afterthought, referring to the video, she added: "And I know your ideas about who he is."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets
Loading...