By Álvaro de Benito | April 17, 2024

Flavio Garciandía (Caibarién, Cuba, 1954) becomes the active and passive subject of his work in his first solo exhibition in Madrid.


Already starting from the irony that underlies the play on words in the name of the show, Flavio Garciandía y Flavio Garciandía exhiben juntos (otra vez) (Flavio Garciandía and Flavio Garciandía exhibit together (again), we can come to understand all the intention and effort that the Cuban, one of the top figures of the generation of painters of the 80s on the island who made an impact with their aesthetics, deploys. This time, his objective, and almost instrumental, is himself, reflecting on that mirror that in his person is produced by a global and capitalized art industry and from which he has always tried to escape.

Focusing on the expression of that irony, the choice of his works as passive actors of that reference to oneself and of that valuation that with perspective can be made, is not casual. Since he showed in his works that intentionality of combining power and market, of referencing social realism and pop at the same time, his criticism has been directed towards the elitism that is presupposed to an industry condemned to deal exclusively with the wealthy classes. That is where his machine is set in motion, incorporating popular references to the elitist imaginary, with the frijol as the maximum symbol, evolving, due to its insertion in an elevated class of society, from being an element of poor idiosyncrasy to a sacralised and ironic symbol invited to high society. This game, a reflection of the social and shown from the technique used in his painting to the very iconography of the great names of art as metaphors of that deep social gap, has no apparent winner. Perhaps therein lies that post-conceptualism, the same one by which Garciandía asks himself if everything is falsified or if any exercise of denunciation can become useless.

Flavio Garciandía y Flavio Garciandía exhiben juntos (otra vez) is on display until May 11 at Galería El Apartamento (Madrid space), Puebla, 4, Madrid, Spain.

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