Wifredo Lam Enhibition in Museo Reina Sofía Madrid
Apr 7, 2016
Son of Cantonese father and a Cuban mother with hispanoafricanas roots, Wifredo Lam (Sagua La Grande, Cuba, 1902-Paris, 1982) took the concept of miscegenation to its last consecuences. The ancestors African slaves provided him with spirituality and connection with the earth and roots and his Chinese ancestors inoculated the passion for the psyche but also the art of the emperors, the porcelains, delicacy and symbolism; multiple influences that in Wifredo were taking shape in an absolutely personal hybrid style.
The huge anthology dedicated to Wifedo Lam organized by the Reina Sofia Museum in co-production with the Pompidou Museum (Paris) and the Tate in London, lets us go to all facets of the artist and devotes special attention to their work during the past season in Spain, from 1923 to 1938, period whose influences are essential to understanding his later work.
Wifredo Lam was related to all the avant-garde artists and modern creation in the fervent century, a convulsive time he also lived with his brand of eternal emigrant. And so, his work was changing and evolving between cubism, abstraction, expresionionismo, Western modernism and African symbolism, and that was carrying the concerns of the painter, deeply committed to the world's problems (racial issues, socio-political relations, colonialism) and curious with all the methods and techniques painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, traveling between one and other as in an "external and internal exile" with the words of Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the reina Sofía Museum.
For the curator Catherine David "the fast assimilation with cubism and surrealism was an entry card into the clan of the modernity, but his work is much more complex." According to Borja-Villel, Lam "is the most fascinating painter of the twentieth century but is difficult to understand, and he has been placed into categories too defined and stable ".
The exhibition, with 250 works, is designed in 5 parts that place Lam's work in relation with the history of international art and highlights the progressive stages of a work built between Spain, France, Italy and Cuba ... In Spain he knows the avant garde and coincides with Benjamin Palencia and the surrealism ... Later in Paris is essential the meeting with Pablo Picasso and André Breton's circle. Since 1942, Lam painting gives a master spin and seeks their African origins present in Cuban culture. Since then, he shapes and defines his style, the total union between the European avant-garde and Afro-Cuban plastic, total rupture between center and periphery, an original language to defend life and individual freedom.