JOSÉ BEDIA

March, 2013

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And God Created Them
Mixed media on canvas.88 x 212.5 cm. 2012
And God Created Them A Whole Lot of Woman Daughter of the Escambray Daughter of the Escambray Devotion At Home, Any Old Night To Cut or Not to Cut The Anaconda's Digestion That Stranger Adultery Gray Figure Recovering His Faith I Once Had a Home

ENLACE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO Gallery (Av. Pardo y Aliaga 676, San Isidro) announces the opening of the solo painting exhibitionDE UN EXTREMO A OTRO by JOSÉ BEDIA, next Thursday, March 7 at 7.30 p.m. The artist will be present at the exhibition. “JOSE BEDIA, one of Latin America’s most outstanding contemporary artists, a Cuban visual artist who was one of the leading figures in the rise of Cuban painting at the beginning of the ‘80s, presents his most recent production at Galería Enlace under the title of DE UN EXTREMO A OTRO (FROM ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER), a series of powerful paintings made using acrylic and mixed techniques on canvas, as well as works on paper, in which he offers a far-reaching vision, from one end to the other, up to the very bounds of modes and significations. An overarching, inclusive vision, like a panoramic, multifaceted view of the themes and/or subjects addressed in his works and his career as a whole, in all its varied range and diversity, such as the pairing or opposition of machine (technique)/nature; the limits of modes and conceptions and cultural practices; or the vision of woman in her different facets, whether as protector, mother, officiant or director of religious practices, or even as a witch and libertine. The artist, who has been called a “cultural nomad,” wanders or moves among the currents that have arisen in the wake of “post-conceptualism,” or so-called “neo-conceptualism.” He sets out on an outer and inner journey, crossing through and intertwining different cultural frontiers, assimilating them, comparing them, intertwining and discovering resemblances. His canvas is vast. It is an ancient manuscript that conserves the traces of previous writing, which has been erased but has not disappeared. His oeuvre is characterized above all by the line as a direct and crude form of expressiveness, and the use of text, of written language. His painting springs forth and spills out.” Roberto Ascóniga. Bedia (Cuba, 1959) studied at the Escuela de Arte San Alejandro and the Instituto Superior de Arte of Havana. He was a founder of the Cuban Generation of the ‘80s and a member of the radical Volumen I, which represented a drastic change in the cultural development of post-revolutionary Cuba. He emigrated to Mexico in 1991 and the United States in 1993. His work has been exhibited extensively in galleries in Latin America and Europe, and forms part of private and museum collections around the world, such as those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; the Bass Museum of Art, Miami; the Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico; the Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC), Badajoz; the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana; the Pori Taide Museum, Finland; and the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM), among others. His work has received numerous awards, including the recent First Prize at the IV Beijing International Biennale in 2011. In 2012, the Miami Art Museum (MAM) presented a wide-ranging retrospective of Bedia’s work entitled “Peregrino Trascultural, tres décadas de trabajo” (“Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work”). This anthological show was also exhibited in 2011 at the Fowler Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. Of his work, the Cuban art researcher and critic Orlando Hernández has written: "JOSÉ BEDIA HAS NEVER BEEN AN ARTIST PER SE. He has never wanted to be one. In one way or another, he has always tried to avoid it, to flee, to escape from art, as any hunted animal in danger would do. (…) Because Art—let us call it now by its grand name, with a capital A—is that which has always pursued and corralled other cultural and aesthetic objects and practices, and has also rejected and excluded a wide variety of creators. I am well aware that an accusation such as this must come backed by many arguments. But before moving on, I would like to note that of the visual creators whom I know, José Bedia has been one of the few (and perhaps one of the first) to pick up on this danger and establish a serious and responsible methodology of counteracting it. Unlike artists whose aesthetics have been more or less centripetal (that is, art-centric, directed toward the historical vortex of Western culture), that of José Bedia has been shown to be, on the contrary, completely fugitive, centrifugal. And like all centrifugal tendencies, it is only possible to shoot off toward the edges, toward the margins. His aesthetic has always been aimed at the so-called (from the “center”) “peripheral cultures,” which, in our case, as Cubans, Carribeans, Latin Americans, may very well simply be called our cultures. And while it is true that a large part of that which we call our cultures already belongs to the modern West, there is another part that has always resisted this sense of belonging. (…) But the truth is that in relation to Western art, Bedia’s position has always been deliberately that of a dissident, a rebel, a subversive.”