Roberto Diabo, Resistiendo en el Tiempo, 2019. Plates of cans and different dimensions

Every biennial is intersocial and in constant movement, each edition tries to transcend the realities already lived. The 13th Bienal de Havana has in its favor the project behind the Muro, which stretches for eight kilometers from the Malecon, attracting hundreds of people to the boardwalk that winds along the coast of Havana. Cuba is a 360 degree window facing the sea and the Malecón, a viewpoint that allows the public a different perception of everyday life. curated by Juan Delgado, the press conference covers successive works in continuous exhibition. End and beginning of the city, this space tries to go beyond the stereotype: a place where love begins and ends, a meeting point for friends, a place for drinking or simple children's games.

At each Havana Biennial, a new edition of the project is born Behind the wall that mixes art, architecture, performances and, this year, completes three editions involving 70 artists from 10 countries.

Coming from Chile, Benjamin Ossa, who sees the Malecón as a territory full of seductive or obscure curiosities, creates Un invisible lighthouse (An Invisible Lighthouse), hollow tower where the sea breeze flies free. With almost 70 meters high and three meters in diameter, this “beam” of light shines and moves through 1344 copper and aluminum discs, suspended on stainless steel cables, which are completed with triangles in an enigmatic game of luminescence.

Benjamin Ossa, Un Invisible Faro, 2019. Copper and aluminum discs. Stainless steel.

Inserting itself in the urban rhizome, Behind the wall hosts performances such as Building the Feminine e Look without Seeing. Both seem to refer to the current world: seeing blindfolded. The first tries to identify sensorially with the feminine traits from the sculptures of dresses, by Susy Gómez. The second makes the viewer walk across an uneven surface. The idea of ​​both is that touch transcends vision.

In urban occupations, activist movements or ideological works formulate other imaginaries in new territories. Slavery is reflected in the work of Roberto Diago, who studies it in a parallel between acts of cultural resistance and slave rebellions in the 18th and 19th centuries in the Americas. The Cuban artist is interested in the subject in a dense and active way.

Among the almost emerging artists, there are established artists such as Eduardo Pojuán, whose work has a revealing effect. Public chat is a compass that can be seen as the inverted map, by Torres Garcia. According to Freud, “the antithesis of play is not what is serious, but what is real”. Del Rio works the game between lucidity and playfulness with water hoses that people can direct against each other. under the title Transfusion, works on the direct organization of sensations.

A collective exhibition is also an arrangement of resignified objects. Behind the wall brings pieces that are apparently out of context, such as the minimalist work of the Mexican José Dávila, an installation with rocks trapped between volcanic plates. Or that of Felipe Dulzaides, a work poetic/political, Limited Perspective in which he creates a structured space with steel walls, where gaps are opened and peeks into the act of coming and going.

In this flyby over behind the wall, the fairy-like fantasy of transparencies and colors in David Magán's work draws attention in an attempt to capture the light. This luminous terrain attracts and returns the public, through the colored acrylic sheets, contortions and explosions of their own bodies. In contrast to this luminosity, The Guardians, by Xavier Mascaro, revisits a mythical aspect of the work of art and encompasses a genre of historicist sculpture that gains prominence with pigments created by him, but that works as if it were the action of time.

Part of the recent social content of art aimed at the population is closer to organizational and economic issues than to the aesthetic legacy. Although it is not the case for behind the wall, the public that walks among the works on the Malecón in Havana can love, hate, question, in short, give their opinion on the project. After all, he, unlike the critics, is the essential arbiter of taste in an event of this nature. One that can guarantee the continuity of a public project, in socialist countries or not.

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