I believe in art. That’s why, for this third edition of the Atlántica online magazine, I have only invited artists who share this faith in the expressiveness of art.
After centuries under the control of secular rulers and religion, art finally eked out its autonomy some time ago – a fact brilliantly expressed in the title sin título. Art had become totally free; it no longer needed a direct purpose.
This trend has seen another reversal in recent years; art these days once again needs a decipherable purpose and meaning, a clearly articulated, objectively manifest cause. It requires a politically correct theme to address in order to be socially recognised and successful, and understood by the masses.
That’s why I called together artists who have seemingly shirked such categorisations, who do not need any labels, and who have refused to pander to the regressive, positivist 19th-century thinking that is currently so prevalent.
The common thread linking all the artists presented here is their altruism. None of them have cowed to the market and its demands. Implicitly or even explicitly, but always under the guise of aesthetics, they resist the status quo and social wrongs; their works are the result of an ethical and moral imperative, and have remained totally uncorrupted. The artists featured here do not hash out a particular subject to the point of regurgitating it over and over. They instead successfully seek a new, specific means of expression for each idea.
The collection of artists I have featured here are true icons: Lázaro Saavedra, who has long been the solid rock of the Cuban scene, unflinching and always brimming with positive irony and a love for the world despite all adversity and duress; Betsabeé Romero, the only artist in Mexico to fuse arte popular with contemporary art in a way that breaks new ground in art and constantly redefines the outmoded, academicised concept of culture; Argentines Lolo and Lauti, whose focus is on the all-but-lost tradition of queer political drag cabarets, which they are helping achieve an unimagined revival – in a cheeky, fresh, witty, eccentric and totally contemporary style; Colombian Juan Manuel Echavarría, who has spent many years exploring the social, political and humanitarian situation of his home country, ravaged by civil war, and not only documents this through harrowing art, but is also personally active in these matters, along with his helpers; Argentine Nicola Costantino, whose work is dedicated to morbo and all things sinister, violent and dark, though these also undergo a unique aesthetic exaltation in her art; finally there is José Damasceno, the epitome of an enigmatic artist, whose creations are often cryptic, but which generally break new ground when it comes to their possible interpretations: ‘It is really important to deal with what you do not know.’ (JD)
Hans-Michael Herzog – Coordinador Editorial
Dr. Hans-Michael Herzog es un reconocido experto internacional en arte contemporáneo; en particular, de América Latina. También ha enseñado en diversas universidades alemanas.
Hans-Michael Herzog nació en 1956 en Ulm, Alemania. Estudió historia del arte, filosofía y arqueología clásica en la Universidad de Bonn y obtuvo su doctorado en1984 con una especialidad en escultura del Protorenacimiento veneciano.
Entre 1987 y 1989, trabajó para la Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, en Múnich.
Entre 1989 y 1999, fue comisario de la Kunsthalle Bielefeld.
De 2000 a 2015, el Dr. Herzog ocupó el cargo de director artístico y curador en jefe de la Colección Daros Latinamerica, con sede en Zúrich, Suiza; y de 2005 a 2009, fue el director artístico de la Colección Daros, también con sede en Zúrich. Fue el director fundador de Casa Daros en Río de Janeiro, Brasil. Escritor y crítico de arte y arquitectura, ha estado a cargo de numerosas exposiciones y publicaciones sobre arte contemporáneo internacional. Estas incluyen: Manolo Millares (1992), Kunst um Kunst (1993), Jürgen Klauke: Prosecuritas (1994), The Body/ Le Corps (1994), Sean Scully: The Catherine Paintings (1995), Langlands & Bell(1995), Jonathan Lasker: Paintings (1997), Ronald Bladen: Sculpture (1998), La Mirada: Looking at Photography in Latin America today (2002), Cantos cuentos colombianos: arte colombiano contemporáneo (2004), Le Parc Lumière: obras cinéticas de Julio Le Parc (2005), Fabian Marcaccio: Paintant Stories (2005), Seduções:Soares, Meireles, Neto (2006), Guillermo Kuitca: Das Lied von der Erde (2006), Carlos Amorales: Dark Mirror (2007), Face to Face ( 2007), Painted! (2008), For You / Parausted (2009), Antonio Dias: Anywhere Is My Land (2009), Luis Camnitzer (2010), Nicola Costantino (2011), Wifredo Díaz Valdéz (2011), Ilusiones (2014), Made in Brasil (2015), Cuba: ficción y fantasía (2015).