exhibition Collective / point zero / Biennial XIII Colateral Exhibition of Havana / Gallery house 8 / Calle 8 No. 306 e/ 13 y 15, Vedado / April-May of 2019

Zero point
Collective Exhibition / Punto cero / Collateral Exhibition XIII Havana Biennial / Casa 8 Gallery

It was always a question of making visible a space and a list of young artists. Throughout a year and a half, different strategies have been used to achieve these two purposes, the idea that one and the other should meet at a common point, organizing an exhibition where each artist, with very different profiles, would take as a fundamental inspiration for their works, the very place where they would be located, seemed to us to be a suitable way to link them under a coherent curatorial line.

The obstruction we presented profiled a path full of insecurities. The only certainty we had was the collective enthusiasm to integrate an exhibition that would be part of the XIII Havana Biennial. We knew the risk of not getting the exhibitors really involved with the project, because the subject did not come from them, because our motivation arose from the attachment we had for Casa8, from the interaction with this place, which was much more frequent and prolonged than any of the artists we called would have had.

There was a romantic feeling behind our proposal, which was strengthened after the presentation of the first sketches and ideas, and the gradual conformation of works, which at the date of this text, still unfinished, already convince of a work guided by passion. Our initial provocation, the incitement to subvert the condition of physical receptacle of the exhibition space to transform it into the visual and conceptual motif of each piece, had, by all means, a gratifying and inspiring rebound.

There were weeks of meetings with the artists, visits to their workshops, revision of images, discussion of titles, negotiations to reach consensus on which work was the best to include in the exhibition, careful observation of the space to intervene, inquiries into its history, its secrets, its hidden structures. To those who had been working on this site for longer, we asked what they knew about the place. We went out to the neighborhood to look for the neighbors for life in the area, someone who could give us any clue where to start, any data to which to attach ourselves to build the tabulations that were gradually interweaving about the house. Someone told us that a family named Forcade lived there before the revolutionary period. That Mr. Forcade was invalid and had at his disposal an elevator that moved him from one floor to another, an elevator that no longer exists. That in 1960 they left home and the country. That the gardener who worked with them stayed there for a few years, an old man - as we always imagine those who make this office - who kept all the objects inside the luxurious mansion intact. That no more fairy was heard of him, once the property passed into the hands of the State. They had their offices there a Spanish firm, a Soviet consulate, the Leyland guaguas company. That was a place that became the domain of the Grupo Empresarial Palco, to which our gallery, as well as the offices of Obras por Encargo and those of Inversiones, the Cuban Fund of Cultural Goods, and the small shop and cafeteria of the Egrem, at the moment, we pay for the rent of the building.

It was up to the artists to decompact this history, to lift the layers of tradition and the cultural, architectural and social imaginary that weigh on the house and to find interpretation devices that, while reaffirming, also transcended the specific values of the place.

Probably the greatest credit that can be given to ¨Punto cero¨ is the achievement, through this exhibition, that gallery and artists recognized each other. To have undertaken together the path of the appropriation of a space, became a process of reaffirmation of a territory that we already had as our own. Something became clear within this journey: people and spaces build places. No other truth could be sustained!

Yenisel Osuna Morales