Topic(s): Exhibition | Comments Off on MANUEL PIÑA — DECONSTRUCTING UTOPIAS

Date/Time: 12/02/2004 12:00 am

February 5 ­ March 6, 2004
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 5, 6-8pm
NEW YORK, NY 10001
T: 212-627 3363 F:212-627 3368
Marvelli Gallery is pleased to present Deconstructing Utopias, the second
New York solo exhibition by Cuban artist Manuel Piña. The show will present
four grids of sixteen photographs each and a video. It will be on view
through March 6.
The exhibition deals with utopias and their practical realization. The
images are photos of buildings that were created as part of the
³microbrigadas² movement that was an attempt to solve the housing problem
in Cuba, starting in the 60¹s through the early 90¹s. The movement
encouraged people in need of housing to gather in small brigades (hence the
name) to build their own homes with materials provided by the government.
This project was one of many utopian ideas promoted by the Cuban revolution
that in practice did not work. The quality of the buildings was often poor,
there was no urbanistic planning and many of them were left unfinished. The
way the images are installed resemble the work of the Bechers but lacks
their perfection. There is something wrong in every shot ­ the composition
is not right; the cropping is asymmetrical. It is an allusion to the way we
aspire to social models that never work in society. Furthermore, the prints
are not properly fixed in the darkroom process, so during the time of the
installation the images will fade and change, similar to the ideals that
this popular housing movement (and many others) once represented.
The video that completes the installation draws from the Cuban Cinema
tradition of the 60’s, especially the works of Nicolasito Guillen and Sara
Gómez. They produced documentaries in which text was an important complement
to the image. They were active when the ³microbrigadas² movement began.
Piña¹s video counteracts their work. Whereas Guillen and Gomez produced
enthusiastic and humorous pieces dealing with the collective experience,
Piña¹s video is dry, laconic and very personal.
Manuel Piña¹s work has been exhibited widely in venues such as at the
Istanbul Biennale, Havana Biennale, Vienna Kunsthalle, the International
Center of Photography and Grey Art Gallery in New York, Daros Collection in
Switzerland and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, among others.
For more information or images of the photographs included in the show,
please contact Monica Espinel at 212-627 3363 or info@marvelligallery.com