XXX years in the fight by Israel Castellanos León

With that title, on December 19 an exhibition was inaugurated at the Visual Arts Development Center (CDAV) to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of that institution, heir to the former Directorate of Plastic Arts and Design of the Ministry of Culture and located in Saint Ignatius no. 352, esq. to Teniente Rey, Plaza Vieja.

The exhibition, allegorical and basically documentary, was displayed at the headquarters that the CDAV occupies since September 1989, founded with the missions of studying and promoting contemporary Cuban visual arts, methodologically serving the national gallery system, dealing with national events and significant internationals and edit specialized publications.

According to the catalog, the sample was made up of "nuclei, loose pieces that subvert the logic of the traditional narrative and allow all the contemporaneity that is its own". On the ground floor there were press clippings, catalogs and other documents related to two of the national events organized by the CDAV: the Hall of Prize Winners - which is no longer held - and the Contemporary Cuban Art Hall.

On the upper floor was located Moments "of the struggle": a nucleus made up of "a selection of documents, catalogs, posters, works, photographs, and gestures." Among them, there were images of the “exhibition-event” Telarte VI Internacional. Designs by artists for textile printing, with which the CDAV was officially inaugurated on November 5, 1989, in the context of the III Havana Biennial.

In another section, Azcuy: Fragments "of the struggle" was exhibited. There were grouped posters made by that renowned Cuban graphic designer, creator of the Center's logo, developer of the Registry of the Creator of Plastic and Applied Arts, founding specialist of the institution and supposed initiator of the CDAV poster collection, from where the posters displayed.

The audiovisual Scenes “de la lucha” –which animates and musicalizes images of exhibitions, events and CDAV workers–, was projected on the wall of the patio. While Testimonies “de la lucha” intends to collect orally the history and other narratives –critical or not–, about the future of the Center, through a meeting with artists, curators and the general public, scheduled for January 16, 2020 , at 4 pm, in the Center itself.

According to the curators in the catalog: “The celebration of anniversaries dates back to the Egyptians, around 3000 BC. From them come the symbolic, mystical and occult commemorations, always carried out in search of prosperity, long life and to drive away evil spirits. And who are we not to follow that long tradition? "

The truth is that the CDAV already has three celebrations. One per decade. In 1999, he edited the brochure Memories, where he listed the group and personal exhibitions, events and international exhibitions that the CDAV organized or hosted up to that time. And, in 2009, he held the collective exhibition XX años “no son nada”.

Over the course, the original missions of the Center have been modified. And new challenges have appeared. “It is becoming more and more complex to clear the framework of national art, which is why it is also difficult to find radically different proposals. However, there are significant changes that […] represent a new dynamic in the system of relations between art itself and between art and the institution ”, stated Ernesto Yoel Ramírez, current director of the CDAV.

By: Israel Castellanos León, January 2020