@ MOCA Cleveland
June 9, 2014 — June 27, 2014
FREE and open to all
On view during regular Museum hours in Gund Commons
For the Spring/Summer INTERMISSION period, MOCA Cleveland is pleased to present a series of thirteen video works from the juried exhibition Video Cubano, a project initiated by The 8th Floor, a private exhibition and event space established to promote cultural and philanthropic initiatives in New York City. Curator Rachel Perera Weingeist invited artists in Cuba to submit video pieces online, by mail, or via drop-off in Havana, and the final selection was determined by a jury of American and Cuban critics and curators. Through a contemporary lens, the project aims to expand a more nuanced cultural and artistic understanding of Cuba.
Both established and emerging artists are featured, presenting a range of cultural, social, and political viewpoints. Some of the pieces examine specific themes related to Cuban culture, such as political propaganda and surveillance, sports, the black-market, the military, and restrictions on mobility, while others approach more universal themes, including identity, doubt, and perseverance.
Opened in 2010, The 8th Floor features exhibitions inspired by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection. Recent projects have primarily focused on the presentation of contemporary Cuban art. In addition to public exhibitions, the 8th Floor hosts a range of events in support of the interests of The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.
WORKS ON VIEW:
All works courtesy of the artists and The 8th Floor, New York.
Prendas Corpus, 2008
Color video with sound, 00:09:23
Prendas Corpus employs video to address themes of obsolescence and the shortage of necessities prevalent throughout Cuba. Combining reality and performative acts, Abstengo-Chaviano lays bare many of the techniques used by the Cuban people to illegally take products that are highly needed and desired.
Color video with sound, 00:03:02
Concierto is a video showing different views of Havana throughout the night. A set of lights turn on and off in time with the music, creating a fantastical vision of a city moving through time. The piece produces awareness of the everyday, while also making an effort to disrupt the common rhythm.
Making Room, 2004
Color video with sound, 00:03:11
The right side of the frame shows images of the early days of the Cuban revolution, specifically the tearing down of “old” structures. The left side shows the artist faking obesity, a strategy used by Cubans to bring extra clothing to relatives while traveling back to the island.
Ping Pong, 2006
Color video with sound, 00:00:59
Daily survival means using the fridge as an interactive object; filling it can be a game of resistance. In this video, a man obsessively plays ping-pong with the appliance, suggesting it is both a companion and adversary.
Cubriendo Expectativas, 2006
Color video with sound, 00:00:56
Instead of food, the tin can provides something else: the illusion of the perfect scenario, a social setting, the essence of priority seating.
Celia Gonzalez and Yunior Aguiar
Color video with sound, 00:07:23
Bojeo was created in Cuba and Tobago, two Caribbean Islands with similar geographies and roles as tourist destinations. Gonzalez and Aguiar visited the main tourist destinations of Tobago, documenting their trip with images, and relating sites to their home country of Cuba. They then approached the Cuban tourism industry by phone, calling hotels near the beach, and asking for descriptions of the views. The project was carried out during a time when Cuban residents could not enter Cuban hotels.
Jose Mesías Jorge
Color video with sound, 00:06:29
Lúz examines the gradual transition of the illumination of buildings throughout the evening. Focusing on large buildings and monuments, as well as homes, Jose Mesías Jorge presents a documentation of a number of urban areas, watching the passage of time, from darkness into light.
Color video with sound, 00:03:04
Reflexíon is a collection of collaged video animations based on narratives regarding the conflict between individuals and the socialist system in Cuba. A series of figures represent political rhetoric, existential crises, and dogmatism, all of which influence the philosophical and psychological development of the individual. Each animation is itself a structured chapter of dialogue, and part of an ongoing process.
Coming Soon, 2010
Color video with sound, 00:14:47
Coming Soon is a compilation of promotional trailers of international films, where the English text and soundtrack has been kept, but the footage has been replaced with more familiar Cuban television series and movies. The merging of trailers and footage requires imagination, but ultimately adds a sense of showmanship and frivolity to the Cuban productions.
Javier Castro Rivera
Reconstructing the Hero, 2006
Color video with sound, 00:04:25
Reconstructing the Hero is based on the twenty-six body wounds suffered by Antonio Maceo during the wars of independence. In a sharp subversion of roles, the artist compares the iconic image of Maceo with the supposed antihero of any social structure: the subject of marginality. Through a mosaic of accounts that manages to exhaust the number of wounds referred to, the artist reveals the motives that led up to the violent altercations.
Sometimes I’d Rather Shut Up, 2006
Color video, 00:01:08
In Sometimes I’d Rather Shut Up, Saavedra undertakes a combative dialogue with an alternate self, in which the artist’s own work is criticized.
Not Knowing is Not Seeing, 2006
Color video with sound, 00:01:27
Not Knowing is Not Seeing is a film symbolizing Cuba’s socialist society with a pile of beans. Everyone is equal and homogenous in ideology, living and moving according to the dictates of the state. Those who stray outside the system will be dealt with accordingly.
Color video with sound, 00:04:49
Opus is a series of numbers, which appear as they are spoken. This was created with the statistical numbers, in order of their mention, used by Fidel Castro in his speech at the Plaza de la Revolución, Havana, in 2003.