Thursday, 8 July 2010
Felipe Dulzaides + Porro, Garatti, Gottardi
Artist Felipe Dulzaides' installation explores the history of the unfinished National Art Schools in Havana, which were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in 1961 and designed by Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti, and Roberto Gottardi. Together, the schools were conceived as an art center that would symbolize and give form to the socialist ideals ushered in by the Cuban Revolution, but construction was abruptly halted in 1965, leaving many buildings incomplete and relegating them to obscurity.
Now, the schools are widely acknowledged to be masterpieces of 20th-century architecture. In 1999, their future took a turn when the Cuban government decided to restore and complete the schools' unfinished buildings. The centerpiece of Utopía Posible focuses on Roberto Gottardi and his quest to finish the School of Dramatic Arts, a process that has taken more than 40 years and led him to develop four different schemes.
The exhibition also features two new video pieces: Next Time It Rains, about Garatti's School of Ballet, which was 90 percent complete in 1965 but never occupied and left to be overgrown by jungle; and Broken Glass, about Porro's School of Dance, the first building of the complex to be completed during initial construction. The School of Dance was modeled after the shape of a broken piece of glass, a metaphor for an emotional explosion and the sense of fragility that characterized the revolution in its earliest stages. Together, these works contribute another dimension to this unique story of intense creativity, experimental architecture, and politics. Felipe Dulzaides (Cuba, 1965) is a visual artist whose work spans photography, installation, performance, video, and public art. Dulzaides' work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien (Berlin), Redcat (Los Angeles), and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), among other venues. He is the recipient of prestigious awards including, the Cintas Fellowship 2001, the Creative Work Fund 2004 - 2005 and the 2010 Rome Prize. Dulzaides studied drama at the Instituto Superior de Arte and holds a Master of Fine Arts in New Genres from San Francisco Art Institute. Utopía Posible was selected by Okwui Enwezor for the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008) and featured in the 10th Havana Biennial (2009). The Graham Foundation presentation is the first in the United States, and features new work.