(…) Simone Neuenschwander
In your show the motif of the hurricane is also closely connected with the figure of the tropical fruit, the image of which seems to allude to the historical and often colonial perception of Cuba as a “tropical” island, a place of desire. The utilization of fruit in your work reminds me of the Latin American “Tropicália” movement of the 1960s and 1970s, in which the assimilation of ideas from one culture into another is not a haphazard process of copying but rather generates new and subversive translations. Why was it important for you to take up the image of the tropical fruit and why did you decide to present them here as real objects?
I have decided to include more ‘tropical elements’ in the conceptual scheme of the exhibition in order to examine them carefully. The “tropical fruit” represents multiple meanings. Some of them are very complex, like the one connected with The Fruit Company, Inc. in which we can trace the history of monocultures in relation to early 20th century American capitalism, and from that point on we could deduct the origin of the “Banana republic” and its clear connection to Latin American dictatorships.
It is true that we have extraordinary fruits in Cuba, and it is also true that they have been used for centuries to illustrate the uncomplicated and wonderful life of the exotic tropics. In this sense many clichés have been produced mostly for colonial or post-colonial purposes. On the other hand, before all these clichés were created and exploited, fruits were already “venerated” by the locals and used in many different contexts, from Afro-Cuban cults to various manifestations of art. Fruits, palm trees, flowers, birds and the sea have been objects of obsession for many Cuban artists. Entire generations have painted and written about them with passion, believing that mango or royal palm trees, for instance, are not just elements that belong to the “tropical” identity, but in fact constitute a way of being. After many years living in Europe, I feel ready to bring that form of tropical “being” into my practice and to show a “translation” in which life is rather a joyful event. (…) Read More
a drawing after life. simone neuenschwander in conversation with diango hernández
for “in hazard, translated” diango hernández solo exhibition at kunstverein nürnberg