Es Baluard Museu d’Art Contemporani de Palma presents “The Parallel Utopia. Dream Cities in Cuba (1980-1993)“, an exhibition that brings us closer to a world of urban dreams based on various projects conceived by a generation of architects, artists and activists born with the Cuban Revolution that exploited intellectually in the 1980s.
This project by Iván de la Nuez with Atelier Morales opens to the public on April 15 from 7.00 pm with all safety and hygiene measures and will be on view until September 26, 2021 in Es Baluard Museu.
“The Parallel Utopia” is made up of eight chapters to take a journey from the solares (shanty towns) to barbacoas (a vernacular form to gain space in buildings using tall props); from the art deco that has survived along Havana’s Malecón to the retro kitsch of the 1950s; from Italo Calvino to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base; from the colonial city to the bicentenary of the French Revolution, taking in or dodging all sorts of monuments.
Among the authors are projects by Ramón Enrique Alonso, Teresa Ayuso, Nury Bacallao, Juan Blanco, Francisco Bedoya, Daniel Bejerano, Inés Benítez, Emilio Castro, Felicia Chateloin, Orestes del Castillo Jr, Adrián Fernández, José Fernández, Rafael Fornés, María Eugenia Fornés, Eduardo Rubén García, Óscar García, Universo Francisco García, Florencio Gelabert, Hedel Góngora, Alejandro González, Juan-Si González, Gilberto Gutiérrez, Héctor Laguna, Lourdes León, Teresa Luis, Jorge Luis Marrero, Rosendo Mesías, Juan Luis Morales , Huber Moreno, Rolando Paciel, Enrique Pupo, Ricardo Reboredo, Carlos Ríos, Patricia Rodríguez, Abel Rodríguez, Alfredo Ros, Gilberto Seguí, Regis Soler, Antonio Eligio Tonel Eliseo Valdés and Taller Le Parc (2nd Havana Biennial).
According to Imma Prieto, Director of Es Baluard Museu, with this project “we still working on one of our research lines, specifically the one that deals with the city and communities. That’s why we started the 2020 season with Martha Rosler and photographs of Havana in the 80s, and now we close with this utopian projects about what could have been, giving visibility to a deeply valid project and pointing to the need to vindicate the dreams of a group of intellectuals (architects, engineers, illustrators, etc.) who understood how an urban turn can change socio-political relations”.
On the other hand, the Museum organizes an exclusive visit to the exhibition with Iván de la Nuez on March 15 within the Members of Es Baluard program and a calendar of free guided tours scheduled for May 25 and June 15. Both activities require prior registration.
The 1980s in Cuba was perceived by the architect and author Emma Álvarez Tabío Albo as a “citizen decade” of the Revolution and by Gerardo Mosquera as a “prodigious decade”. Furthermore, the poet Osvaldo Sánchez referred to that generation as “the children of utopia”, the troubadour Carlos Varela as “the children of Guillermo Tell” and Iván de la Nuez as the lead player of a “dissonant culture”.
“An unusual and contradictory project took place in Cuba between 1980 and 1993: the creation of a Western architecture without a market, the launching into orbit of a collective utopia ignored by the socialist State, the activation of a movement that began as criticism of the official urban planning of the time. And it is back in the spotlight today like the sword of Damocles hanging over the constructions of State capitalism in sight”, explains Iván de la Nuez.
“This collective utopia that grew on the slopes of a State utopia, guided by the unwavering commitment to turn architecture into city. And the city into citizenry”, he adds.
In this sense, the project shows several projects that shrug off the stereotypical and infinitely repeated image of Cuban cities – and, in particular, of Old Havana – and offer us one that extends out to traditional villages like Cojímar, disastrous areas on the periphery of Havana like the Alamar district, or the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Guantanamo in 1989. From reclaiming Italo Calvino as “Cuban” or recycling arte povera as a useful device for advancing towards the future.
The exhibition is organized by Es Baluard Museu d’Art Contemporani de Palma in co-production with La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, from the exhibition “The Parallel Utopia. Dreamt Cities in Cuba (1980-1993)”. With the special collaboration of the Cifo-Veigas Archive, Havana.