In regards of cultural activities, November is a very busy month. Art exhibitions, conferences, literary workshops and the opening of new art galleries and alternative spaces take place in Miami, altogether. Centro Cultural Español Miami is one of those institutions that provide their public with exceptional projects like visual art shows, theatre play montages, video art cycles, performance art presentations, music concerts and dance demonstrations. The center has programmed an eloquent agenda for the month of November, comprising the overture of the exhibit “Outsider, an internal art,” the launching of the book with the same title, and the screening of documentaries related to it.
Forty-seven pieces of mentally handicapped artists from different countries, including Spain, UK, Mexico, US and Cuba, have been collected for the show. The display contravenes the social prejudices that still persist in the art world, presenting works that may cause an undeniable visual impact on the viewers.
Joseph Beuys referred once to the importance of being consciously aware of the art making process when one is involved in it. However, we do have heard of artists who have to go through other kinds of suspicious procedures to help themselves develop their pieces. Mysteriously, the sense of “unconsciousness” gives the artist the chance to travel for more unexpected scenarios which may be translated into their work.
“Outsider, an internal art” (the book) contains written pieces by renowned authors who expose their opinions through reflective essays and poems. For example, the Spanish writer Leopoldo María Panero communicates his real experience after staying confined for several days in a mental institution. Panero’s poems testify the way a recluse feels and perceives his isolation. The essayist Ramon Almela highlights the outsider’s process of creative assimilation as an alternative aesthetic to transform reality while critic Lyle Rexer reveals the affinities between the “outside art” and contemporary artistic practices, engaging the reader in a journey to the most genuine roots of expression, the art matrix itself. Historic revelations offered by Thomas Röske prove the interconnection of surrealism with the art of the outsider. Finally, gallery owner Andy Antippas points out the need for identifying an essential space where multiple realities can coexist. The book also includes a preface by Ricardo Viera, curator of the show, as well as a summary of the artists’ biographies in words of art historian Luisa Espino.
Two documentaries will be presented as part of the program. “Un tal Eusebi,” directed by Iban del Campo, was considered the best film seen on Spanish TV in 2006, receiving numerous prizes. After his retirement from work, an elderly man feels he wants to commit suicide, but he becomes a painter instead. “What’s under your hat” written and directed by Lola Barrera and Iñaki Peñafiel tells the story of Judith Scott, a 62 year-old American sculptor who gets public recognition after living for a long period of time in a mental institution.