Beyond the Frame – Contemporary Cuban Art

Cuban Contemporary Art Beyond the Frame

Groundbreaking exhibition of specially selected works by 26 of Cuba’s leading artists and photographers coming to the UK in April

Beyond the Frame presents artworks by 26 of Cuba’s leading artists, some of whom have shaped perceptions of Cuba, both real and imaginary.

Looking beyond the frame, the exhibition will offer a snapshot of a contemporary art scene that is exploring themes such as migration, the African presence in Cuban identity, racism, nationalism, urban alienation, religion and iconography in engaging and diverse ways. It will be the first presentation and sale of work by some of these artists in the UK.

The range and calibre of the contributing artists has been ensured via a close working partnership with the National Council of Visual Arts in Havana. Artists were invited to create a new piece or select an existing work, because of its particular significance. These include painting, print, drawing, mixed media and photography, both abstract and figurative, conceptual work using found materials and familiar iconic images.

Highlights will include work by Alexis Leyva Machado, known as Kcho, one of Cuba’s best known living artists. Kcho’s powerful conceptual work is sought after by collectors internationally. Manuel Mendive, familiar to UK art viewers, uses myth and narrative to engage with Cuba’s African roots. Eduardo Roca Salazar, known as Choco, presents human figures in his distinctive collographic technique.

Juan Roberto Diago Durruthy, one of the younger contributing artists, works in jute, a material associated with African slavery, creating conceptual portraits. Another of this new generation is Luis Enrique Camejo. He cites the influence of film in his street scenes.

René de Jesús Peña Gonzales has been at the forefront of art photography in Cuba since the early 1990s. He presents Wardrobe, the artist’s hand encased in brass, resting against his body. Liborio Noval Barbara, a veteran of the 1959 revolution, and documentary photographer is submitting his favourite image of former president Fidel Castro.

The exhibition aims to raise awareness of the Miami Five, five Cubans unjustly imprisoned inthe United States for 13 years. Beyond the Frame offers a rare opportunity to see Cuban art displayed alongside work by other internationally acclaimed artists including Susan Hiller, Mona Hatoum, Alasdair Gray, John Byrne and John Keane who are supporting the cause.

Central to the exhibition is the artwork of two of the Five: Antonio Guerrero with drawing and painting; Gerardo Hernández with cartoons. In a message in support of the exhibition, Antonio describes his artistic practice from his cell: ‘Behind every work there is always an emotion, but I can tell you that in mine there is, above all, freedom in the roughest confinement.’

Beyond the Frame – Contemporary Cuban Art

London – 23 to 28 April 2012
Gallery 27, 27 Cork Street, London, W1S 3NG Open 10am-5pm

Glasgow – 7 to 13 May 2012
The Lighthouse, Gallery 5, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU

Contemporary Cuban Art