Commentary by ArteMorfosis, February 2021

Marco Arturo Herrera - Pa’ la caliente 2020, Mixed on canvas, 170 x 140 cm
Marco Arturo Herrera (1991. La Habana, Cuba) – Pa’ la caliente | For the Heat
2020, Mixed on canvas, 170 x 140 cm

There is in this selection of works an unresolved tension between the artists’ manifest desire and artistic implementation. Times of crisis, it is known, can stimulate a formal and conceptual renewal of artistic propositions, but it can also numb impulses. In times of economic uncertainty, the self-preservation instinct has triumphed.

It does not seem that these creators intend to revolutionize their ways of expression, to extend their show cases beyond the purely anecdotal (the pandemic, for most of them, is mere circumstance). They abide by the poetics that they assume “safe”, functional, rather than venturing down more risky paths.

Perhaps it has to do with the hope that everything will pass, and a notion of normality will be restored. It is better to camp the well sheltered storm. And in any case, this is not a devastating crisis that has shaken the institution of art from its foundations, although it has certainly influenced its market.

The market: that seems to be the lifeline. And faced with that possibility, the artists explore what they suspect might meet expectations. It is, therefore, a pragmatic process that tends to homogenize, to standardize. There are many converging poetics in this assortment of works.

And there is, in some cases, a remarkable economy of effort. Low invoice. Pretension of impact at first sight. It seems like another mark of these times.

One thing is what artists say (and even want): the crisis as an opportunity for growth. Another is the result: the crisis as a containment dam.

There are two opposing positions: some reaffirm the need for utopia, others dynamite it. But in any case, perhaps unconsciously, the artists have settled in their comfort zones.

Yuris NóridoFebruary, 2021

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