Belkis Ayón: Collographs – •

“Belkis Ayón: Collographs,” an exhibition curated by Cristina Vives, opened on November 17, and shall be on view till April 18, 2022, on the Reina Sofia Museum (Museo Reina Sofía, Sabatini Constructing, Flooring 3, Calle Santa Isabel 52, Madrid) in collaboration with the Belkis Ayón Property. That is the primary retrospective in Europe dedicated to the Cuban artist. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description: The primary retrospective in Europe dedicated to Cuban print-maker Belkis Ayón (Havana, 1967–1999) features a collection of round fifty collographs that delve deep into her quick however prolific profession, framing it contained in the creative and sociocultural context of Nineties Cuba. The present locations the stress on Ayón’s labour-intensive working course of, exhibiting a number of matrixes of her prints, most of them beforehand unseen. Collography is an uncommon printmaking method primarily based on matrixes constructed as collages and developed by Ayón to create a singular creative language wealthy in nuances and textures which might be onerous to acquire by way of another medium.

Ayón studied at Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte de la Habana (ISA) and got here of age as an artist throughout a profound financial and ideological disaster in Cuba triggered by the autumn of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the collapse of socialism in Europe. Her work shifted in the direction of larger compositional monumentality and complexity, embracing the type of large-scale prints as areas from which to handle urgent points within the Nineties: censorship, violence, intolerance, exclusion, inequalities, management mechanisms, energy constructions.      

The present shines a light-weight on the artist’s work by beginning together with her first visible investigations across the Afro-Cuban secret society Abakuá, imagery that will accompany her from the time she submitted her thesis on the San Alejandro Nationwide Academy of Fantastic Arts in 1988, to her black-and-white prints within the Nineties, a extra apt medium for expressing the existential turmoil that imbues her oeuvre, to her large-scale items with a pronounced set design high quality, by way of which a posh visible and common world is conveyed, syncretising mythology and Abakuá ritual with the primary iconographic parts of the Catholic faith.

Throughout her profession, the ritual and beliefs of the airtight, men-only brotherhood Abakuá served as inspiration to create a particular language expressing moral, aesthetic and universally ideological points. The illustration of the goddess Sikán, sacrificed by the boys of her group and thought of an alter ego by the artist, transcends an ethno-identity or gender-based strategy to embark on a posh world of relations, feelings and conflicts, for example remorse, salvation, concern and the necessity to transcend collective reminiscence.

The sequence of prints Belkis Ayón produced from 1997 onwards denotes the ultimate work she would produce in a profession tragically lower quick by her suicide in 1999. In these last items — darker and extra dramatic — house is pared right down to circles with one foregrounded face that brings the spectator right into a world of sharp battle and profound existential angst. 

Belkis Ayón’s work, by no means beforehand displayed in Europe, has been exhibited at totally different venues within the USA, amongst them El Museo del Barrio, New York (2017), the Fowler Museum – UCLA, Los Angeles (2017) and the Station Museum of Modern Artwork in Houston (2018).

For extra data, see https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/exhibitions/belkis-ayon and https://www.museoreinasofia.es/exposiciones/belkis-ayon

[Shown above: Belkis Ayón, Nlloro, 1991. Collograph on paper. Belkis Ayón Estate, Havana, Cuba.]

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