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Sculptures and Drawings

Mario Almaguer

Opens: July 7th | 6:00pm

Closes: July 27th | 5:00pm

SBDAC’s Grand Atrium

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Mario Almaguer’s drawings and sculptures emanate from a venerable tradition in Cuban visual thought since the beginning of modernism on the island in the mid-1920s.

The volatile transformative nature of the natural and cultural character in the tropics has driven an aesthetic current that has sought expression in the tropological fusion of machine and flesh.

It is a metaphorical embrace also fueled by European movements such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Surrealism, which found particularly fertile ground in Cuba.

Bio-geometry emerges in the sculptures of Eugenio Rodríguez, and Alfredo Lozano, among others,  as well as in the paintings of Wilfredo Lam, Mario Carreño, and Fernández Agustín, among other Cuban teachers.

The powerful legacy of Afro-Cuban religions – with their beliefs in spirit possession and animism – also gives rise to this stylistic current.

The roots of this stylistic fusion between the mechanical and the anatomical (and specifically the erotic) can also be found in the various dualities that have played a role in Cuban culture.

Among them, the competition between urban and rural realities to define the essential iconography of the nation, the fact that Cuba was one of the pioneers in the industrialization of agriculture (especially in sugar production), and the conflictive pairing of the “modern” with the “practical”.

Evident in Cuba’s fascination with cosmopolitan conformability and sophistication and its presumed opposition: the autochthonous as defined by agrarian imagery and popular arts and music.

Add to that the utopian myths imposed on the culture by half a century of communist ideology, with its supposedly scientific rhetoric of progress and equality, and the context of Almaguer’s multifaceted art, is established.

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