JOSÉ BEDIA

(September 30 – November 5, 2009)

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THE ARMADA AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Mixed media on canvas, 142 x 423 cm.
THE ARMADA AT THE END OF THE WORLD LESSON AT DAWN JAGUAR MAPACHO CUSHMA INVOCATION OF THE HUACA: GOOD HUACA, MOTHER HUACA TALKING RUINS THROUGH SOLITUDES AN UNKNOWN ORDER

JOSÉ BEDIA, the Cuban visual artist who was one of the leading figures in the rise of Cuban painting at the beginning of the ‘80s, presents the solo painting exhibition APUNTES DE VIAJE at ENLACE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO Gallery (Av. Pardo y Aliaga 676, San Isidro), next September 30. The artist will be present at the exhibition. Bedia (Havana, Cuba, 1959)is considered by many to be one of the greatest living proponents of Cuban art, whether on or off the island. He was a founder of the “Cuban ‘80s” generation and a member of the radical Volumen I, which represented a drastic change in the cultural scene of post-revolution Cuba. The artist has shown his work in museums and art centers of such international prestige as the MOMA in New York, the Georges Pompidou in Paris, the MARCO in Monterrey, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Carrillo Gil, and the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City, among others. He studied at the Escuela de Arte San Alejandro and the Instituto Superior de Arte, both in Havana. He emigrated to Mexico in 1991 and to the United States in 1993. He has held solo shows in Cuba, Mexico, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Panama, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ireland, France, Colombia, the Philippines, and Canada. Among other awards and grants, he has won the Grand Prize at the Salón de Paisaje, Havana, Cuba (1982); finalist for the Premio Fundación Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain (1982); Installation Prize, Second Havana Biennale, Cuba (1986); Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, NY, USA (1994); and the Oscar B. Cintas Foundation Fellowship, NY, USA (1997). His work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum in New York, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among many others. This show is made up of sixteen works in mixed technique on large and medium-sized canvases, in which the artist synthesizes and depicts, with notable energy, his vision and the interactions of his tour through history, sociocultural environs, ethnic minorities, and his life. José Bedia wanders or moves among the currents emerging from post-conceptualism, or neo-conceptualism. He is a cultural nomad. His is a journey that is both external and internal, moving through and uniting different cultural frontiers. He assimilates them, compares them, unites them, discovering resemblances. His canvas is vast. It is an ancient manuscript that conserves traces of writing that came before, writing that has been erased but that has not disappeared. His work is characterized primarily by the line, with its direct and crude expressiveness, and the use of text, of written language. His painting sprouts and spills. Oversimplifying things a bit, it could be said that there are two main thrusts that identify his work: on the one hand, the critical anthropological treatment of ancestral cultures, whether of African origin or those of the autochthonous peoples of Latin America, North America, Australia, etc.; and on the other, the form in which he collects, treasures, returns, and offers up the customs, ways, visions, magic, and rituals in which he takes part in his travels, both in his paintings and his installations, with messages in languages both ancient and contemporary, in turn calling attention to topics that are completely current. It is as if he sought to restore the original spiritual force in order to express it and make it totally active and current for us in his canvases. It is the extraction and expression of the world of the primordial cultures, with important lessons to offer contemporary humankind. He depicts in his canvases the simultaneity of realities that coexist in the world, where man and living beings, the spirits that preceded him and the deities of earth and heavens encounter one another, recognizing the other as entities of the same inscrutable plan. “Although it hints at the presence of conceptual art, pop art, and arte povera, his art is situated in a terrain beyond the visual and conceptual limits of the West. … Modern man, dominated by fear of that which does not belong to him, aspires to subject everything to his order and comfort. For Bedia, the construction of this security has ultimately had the opposite effect: we are weaker, more dependent, more insecure, more ignorant, more unaware…” Cuauhtémoc Medina. The exhibition may be viewed through November 5, 2009, Monday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. No entry fee.