Chinks to disobedience by Israel Castellanos León

Studies on disobedience. This is the title of the exhibition that Alejandro Gómez Cangas (Villa Clara, Cuba, 1986) inaugurated on November 28 at the Villa Manuela gallery, of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (Uneac). Recent paintings and drawings mainly make up this exhibition that can be visited until next January at Calle H no. 406, between 17 and 19, El Vedado.

It is one of the few samples that did not pay tribute to the celebration for the 500th anniversary of Havana. He did not do it, at least, in an explicit way. In fact, the young artist dispenses with architectural or urban references. It is a decontextualization that responds to the interest in concentrating attention on people, dynamics, flows and (dis) encounters of contemporary life anywhere, with eventual allusions through costumes and some objects.

The artist “focuses his gaze on the dialectic between the collective subject and the individual […] Cangas shows the forest but pays attention to the movement of the trees, to the conflicts of representation, his characters wander at a rhythm that can be guessed: they go … They return; They arrive… they depart […] There is a lot of appropriation of the codes of graphic design and, of course, a valid subversion of the photographic starting point as initial documentation ”–said in the catalog Virginia Alberdi, director of the gallery.

Within that poetics, Gómez Cangas opens loopholes to disobedience, which entails punishment as a sequel. In this sense, they are exemplary illustrative: the drawing where he covers the myth of Sisyphus (Memory or mnemonics, pen / paper gazette), the painting where he extends the punishment from childhood to old age (Punitive composition no. 2 oil / canvas ) and that of the collective stocks (Study in wood, oil / wood).


His apprehension of the collective and anonymous subject has been related, to some extent, to the Masas series that Mariano Rodríguez produced in the 1980s. Although it could also be linked to works by another exponent of the Cuban historical avant-garde: Marcelo Pogolotti. His oil / canvas Ascendant March, from the 1930s, is somewhat reminiscent of Gómez Cangas's, entitled The perpetual mountain. But only compositionally. The ideological projections are different.

Alejandro Gómez's predilection for painting apparently divorced from sociological issues, led him to be included in the collective exhibition Bomba (Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, 2010). There he exhibited one of his characteristic compositions of crowds seen in a nosedive, where a young man looking up could distinguish himself as a tree within the forest. It was the artist himself, but could only be identified by those who knew him. The same happens in the only animated work of his most recent exhibition.

Gómez Cangas is a graduate of the University of the Arts (Isa, 2012) in the Painting profile, and is affiliated with Uneac. He has made several personal and group exhibitions, in Cuba and abroad. His works are part of private collections in various countries of America –Cuba, USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Peru, Brazil– and Eurasia: England, Spain, France, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium and Lebanon.

By Israel Castellanos León, December 2019

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