By Omar Pascual Castillo
“…one drop of limestone, one drop of sand”
(From Cuban popular phrasebook)
Interesting. It turns out to be interesting to meet up here, at the beginning of a text when attempting to treat a theme like THE CUBAN NATIONAL IDENTITY. This time, as plastic speech or, to be more exact, as aesthetic philosophem of painting and installative art potentiated by what is known to be the most knowledgeable in interpretative and histographic matters within the artistic world such as:
CONCEPTUALISM, current or stylistic tendency of the sixties and seventies with great relevance in our context starting on the past decade; not so in the present, in spite of the substratum provided by the Conceptual Art executed by Kossut (even when some affirm that its beginnings were already present in Duchams and the Dada Movement, fact or criteria which, in a certain way, we personally support) and his followers; it is said to be present in the new wave of Cuban plastic manners, in spite of the fact that it tends more and more to the mercantile conservativeness of Good Painting, mimetic, pseudo-realistic and which obviates, knowingly, that avant-garde craving which we could appreciate in the effort of Nouveau Art where it turned to reflection and, it gives way to the key word.
REFLECTION, starting (and turning) point of the most consequent art of those born in the island and which became the weapon, the shooting point, the slide of the pistol, the target of the shot… Well, ERNESTO BENITEZ, aware of this and, without leaving behind his analytic-participative trajectory (see Curriculum and, “…to a good listener, a few words suffice…”), opens in front of us a perspective of the analysis of the Cuban essence, starting from levels of symbolism supported by the explicitness of his silence. Meaning that, in this case, we will face a moment of sublimity of the Cuban essence beyond therapeutical borders of politic speech; it is the Cuban essence itself, as a self-sufficient discursive reference (in the best and widest sense of the word). The Cuban essence as a seal that signs and re-semantises intimate codes, intimate gestures, communicational conflicts of intimate resonance and, given the proposed intimacy, it offers its own socio-cultural dimension of the phenomenon, since we are in presence of a filtered representation (artistically and, with the necessary rigor of the ideo-aesthetical profile) or, of the questioning expressive manipulations of a singular I.
SURVIVORS represents the symbolic experience of an insular gnosticism which proves to be of everyday, burlesque, satiric, emphatic, tautological, vicious (not viced, – worth saying) in plastic language. It is the allocation of the speech of identical in a seal of Cubanity, not from the traumatic synchronization of nostalgic exile but, from the permanent vicisitudes co-existing amongst us Survivors. It is the constancy of a culturological analysis of the Cuban essence and, not coming this time from the practical plastic existentialities of Sandra Ramos, not from the installation of refined representation of Alexis Leyva (archifamous and recently prized KCHO), not from the retrospective obsession of the memory of Ernesto Pujol but, from the mythification of the new ritual of Unmyth.