Opening reception: September 12, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
From September 12 through November 22, 2013.
Pan American Art Projects is very pleased to announce the opening of its new exhibition, Vanitas, by Cuban artistic team José Toirac & Meira Marrero. Vanitas is the first major solo exhibition for the artists in a gallery in the United States; and it includes paintings, sculptures, installations and videos.
The exhibition focuses on the concept of vanity as an ephemeral element in the trajectory of one’s life. Through the integration of several works from different stages in their artistic production the artists make the point that everything is temporary: fame, beauty, power, political alliances, wealth.
The centerpiece to the exhibition, from which we get the title, is Vanitas, an assemblage of 23 portraits of the first ladies of Cuba, accompanied by the artists’ representation of the cover of the magazine Vanidades from 1952 which contained an article about Cuban first ladies that inspired the “Vanitas” work and project.
Cara y Cruz is a work from 1996 composed of 16 paintings: 8 of them are of young revolutionaries who were executed for opposition to Batista, president of Cuba 1954-1958. The other eight are of people executed immediately after the Cuban revolution for their involvement in the assassination of people who fought against Batista.
The show brings together a group of pieces that deal with the notion of mortality mostly from a philosophical point of view. The works are from different periods, proving that transience has been a continual theme in these artists’ oeuvre. The concept is treated from different angles, of human decay and even death like in the sculpture Vanitas: here the beautiful young face of the woman from the 1952 magazine cover is transformed into a striking, beautifully executed white marble sculpture of a skull. Then we have the more abstract instances like from the world of politics, as in Cara y Cruz. It is, throughout, the artists’ way o reflecting about the temporality of life, beauty, political or financial success. Memento Mori, one of the audio/video installations, summarizes this idea with the echo of its imponderable Latin message: remember that you will die, pronounced in tens of different living languages.
Artists will also be exhibiting concurrently in a collective exhibition at the USF Contemporary Art Museum entitled Sub-Rosa with several works. Please visit www.ira.ufs.edu for more information.
José Angel Toirac was born in Guantanamo, Cuba, in 1966 and graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte of Havana in 1990.Meira Marrero was born in Havana in 1969 and graduated from the University of Havana in 1992 with a degree in Art History. The two have been working as a husband and wife team for a little over 10 years. Toirac (the artist) and Meira (the art historian) work as a laboratory of study and development of ideas; sometimes they invite the participation of colleagues from other disciplines (photography, design, video production, music) depending on the project. Their work is characterized by a thorough investigation, and it frequently includes the use of documents and images, both historical and artistic, from national records and archives. They deal with collective memories, and with how these can explain the present; sometimes they “exhume” fragments of memory erased by history. Their work often contains a strong component of political and social critique.
Pan American Art Projects
2450 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33127