“The canonization of historical figures continues” / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar
Posted on January 12, 2015
14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 10 January 2015 – Outside the Galiano
gallery in Central Havana yesterday, dozens of people gathered to enter
the Añejo 27 [Aged 27] exposition. Some passersby were puzzled by the
reasons for the tumult, perhaps thinking that eggs or pork had come to
the ration stores. However, it’s “just art,” one disappointed girl told
another who grimaced on hearing it.
The doors open and in the salon are hanging works from almost thirty
years ago. “A liqueur from the past” with a strange taste of the
present. The author of these drawings, collages and oils is Lázaro
Saavedra, an artist with a stroke of the ironic and few words. Even so,
14ymedio managed to talk with him amid some images that characterize his
work and his artistic generation.
Question: Graphic art and humor are in mourning this week because of the
events at the weekly Charlie Hebdo. What did you think when you heard
about this tragedy?
Answer: Rather than thinking, in the face of news like that what one
feels is a very emotional reaction.
Q: Eight years have passed since the “little war of e-mails” in which
you participated very actively. How has cultural policy changed at that
A: Everything has remained the same.
Q: In this exhibition, Añejo 27, there is an impressive effect in many
of the themes and situations. Aren’t you frightened?
A: And what are the specific issues in which this effect is noticed?
Q: For example, this picture in front of us reminds me of the homework
of my daughters who are now in elementary school.
A: You’re referring to the “Portrait of Che”? Yes, of course, it’s still
current. That is, the entire canonization of historical figures continues.
Q: Tania Bruguera’s performance didn’t happen. Do you think it was too
soon for a call like that?
A: I think so, it was too soon.
Q: What about Cuban art today, does it enjoy good health?
A: That’s a difficult question because if you think about health you
have to counterbalance that with disease. In the answer to this question
about disease, we have to be thinking about the cure for things to be
better. Then we will have to detect what would be the points of sickness.
Q: The disconnect in artistic language, for example, with respect to
what is happening in other countries in the world?
A: The disconnect in language has always been a constant in Cuban art.
For example I did Volume One precisely because of this disconnect in
Cuban art. In these times to do a work with new language could be
considered a work of “ideological diversionism.” To some extent that is
also what happened with Tania’s work, there is a disconnect in the
appearance of the work with the traditional concepts of art.
Q: You’ve stood out as a teacher of new generations. What artistic
surprises do young people have in store for us?
A: I don’t know now because I haven’t been teaching at ISA (Superior
Institute of Art) for a few years, it’s been since about 2009 that I
lost contact with the new generations.
Because of work problems I haven’t been able to give classes, in fact
that is one of the doubts I have of myself. I would like to at least
prove first hand, that is at the primary source, that this is what is
being done at ISA. I refer to the place, because another thing is what
comes out of ISA versus what is archived in ISA, which are two different
Source: “The canonization of historical figures continues” / 14ymedio,
Luz Escobar | Translating Cuba –