geukens & de vil contemporary art gallery antwerp knokke special events: UN-SCR-1325 power of drawing artists of the gallery:sophie kuijken ruben bellinkx bert de beul peter de meyer masashi echigo sofie van der linden herbert hamak gideon kiefer peter lindbergh sofie muller jaromir novotny daniel pitin
José Angel TOIRAC is a Cuban painter, obsessed with iconography, propaganda and postmodern strategies of appropriation. Toirac is part of what has been called the "Third Generation", a group of artists born post-Fidel, dedicated to examining their history and plagued by the uncertainty of what'snext.
The exhibition at Geukens & De Vil is based on 5 parts: -"Parables": a series of 33 photographes -"What goes around comes around": a series of 5 painted diptychs -"Atlantes": a series of 5 monumental paintings -"Profile": a drawing installation -"Opus" & "In the spirit of Crazy Horse. Tribute to Delacroix": 2 video-works The exhibition is about the Travel of the Hero (Fidel Castro). A hero not like Achilles whose glory was crowned by his early death but a hero like Ulysses (Odysseus) who preferred living with the glory better than dying for it. Itaca is the name of Odysseus' fatherland, the destination of his travel and the end of his adventure . All these works have their origin in local Cuban history but at the same time it is the history of any person that starts moving in order to find the Big Aim. It is probably the oldest story; maybe the story behind any story, like an archetype. Recently MOMA, NY bought 2 important works of this artist. Toirac will be in Antwerp from the 21st until the 27th of january.For any further information contact the gallery: 32 475 398 399 or 32 474 38 20 68
STATEMENTS BY THE ARTIST"PARABLES"
This work consists of photographs of Cuban life published in the official Cuban press. The sources range from newspapers like Granma, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, to governmental periodicals and books on the history of the Revolution. These photographs constitute chronological series that illustrate not only the Cuban Revolution but also the New Testament. In these photographs the life of Fidel mirrors that of Christ, from his childhood in Nazareth until his ascension into Heaven. Just as Christianity appropriated pagan festivals, the Cuban Revolution has build an important part of its history on the religious sensibility of its people. "These are the days to unite" is an official buzzword in Cuba. The Pope visited Havana and believers can also be members of the Communist Party. Stock expressions of Christianity have been given a new political meaning. I attempt to reveal this disguised mechanism, to make visible the religious roots of our idolatry, andto show that recent Cuban history is, in part, a retelling of one of mankind's oldest stories.
"WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND" A series of white & black paintings based on the childhood and adolescence of Castro, juxtaposed with later & similar images when he was already a public figure. These works are the stratingpoint situations in that they are reiterated in the iconography of a concrete historical character. I inviteyou to a non-linear re-relling of the history.
"ATLANTES" A series of monumental black & white paintings of the static figure of Fidel. In Greek mythology, Atlas is the god carrying on his back the world and the universe. The plural of Atlas is Atlantes ; this word is used in classical architecture to name the columns with masculine figures. Many of these columns, patrimonial examples of ancient times, have a more decorative than practical function because they don't support the superior structure anymore. My "Atlantes" are about time: the same figure (Fidel), doing nothing just standing quiet like a column, the same character from 4 different points of view taken at different times, with nothing to suppor,much like a classical Atlas in the present days.
"PROFILE" "Profile" is a drawing-installation about "the face of GOD". It is like a profile made by the police about someone they try to characterize not as an individual but in relation with other things. It is likethe description of God: we don't know him as an individual only through his actions.
"OPUS" A video projection that shows a sequence of numbers that change in correspondence with the voice in the soundtrack. It's Fidel's voice giving a speech in 2003. The work is about the relationbetween reality and the discourse about it.
"IN THE SPIRIT OF THE CRAZY HORSE. HOMMAGE TO DELACROIX" A video projection about liberty. It is the image of a horse that has lost its rider. It is a videoloop, so the horse never stops and it leads to another level : the big question about "where we come from"and "where do we go to".
(the source of this work is a reconstruction of the death in combat of Jose Marti, the Cuban national hero who died during the independence war of Cuba against Spain in the XIX century)