Location: Cuba

Andrey Quintana: Art for Reflection and Awareness

By Roxana Consuegra

"The last few years have been characterized by an inverse millenarianism, in which the catastrophic or redeeming premonitions of the future have been replaced by the sensation of the end of this or that (...): these phenomena perhaps constitute what has increasingly been called postmodernism”.

Fredric Jameson

At the height of the 1960's, the world underwent a change or radical cut. The post-industrial era marked a milestone for society and the economy due to the technological advances that were predicted. Meanwhile, man, as individual entity redeemed himself under a false shell that even neutralized the development of thought. On the other hand, the proliferation of the mass media, advertising and leisure in general caused a dis/connection of space and place in the psyche of people. In art it was the era marked by the Pop aesthetics which produced works that at first glance looked like comic strip illustrations, but which spoke about a chaotic world through individual expressive resources like comic strips.

However, in midst of all this development that was flourishing, political conflicts and class differences increased more and more... the fundamental values that had prevailed in modern society were gradually vanishing.

Several decades have elapsed and the debates on the problems faced by the individual keep going on. With an incisive and very serious call of attention, reflection is stimulated through the most diverse creative proposals. Confronting the viewer with works that argue about the current conflicts persists as a goal for many authors.

In the contemporary Cuban art scene, an artist stands out who addresses contemporary issues from his own point of view and aesthetics. Andrey Quintana is a young painter of academic training, who, since the beginning of his career has been attracted by war themes, armed conflicts, and death as a result of global violence: patterns that confer a unique quality to his artistic work. His work therefore shows a marked self-referential character, closely linked to the personal development experienced by him over the years. The penchant for Pop Art is evidenced, first, by the formal language, given by the use of colors and elements such as beads. On the other hand, the Pop discourse is present in the conceptual values and ​​readings underlying his pieces that seek to awaken the public from its apparent inertia in the face of the crisis and excesses of today's society.

His painting production is made up by numerous series merging his position as individual. When talking to the painter he declares “being in favor of the preservation of life and the universal right of human beings to it. (...) How is it possible that a few drive many to death? How can a few powerful ones decide our destiny, whether to live or die?” These questions are latent concerns for Andrey, and a starting point to develop his creative process; questions that are evident in his artistic sequences, among which Exacerbación (Exacerbation) (2013), Sobrevuelos (Overflying) (2014), Detonaciones (Detonations) (2014 - 2015) and Alive (2016 - 2017) stand out for their intrinsic values.

The same thing happens with a series started in 2015, a work in progress entitled Animales en Expansión (Animals in Expansion). In it, the experimentation with the technique is crucial, conveying also a conceptual background. The use of syringes to produce the desired visual effect becomes a criticism of the power mechanisms. According to the author, “the syringe as medical instrument serves to treat and cure diseases, and in my work it is a means to treat the problems of a sick world”.

Starting from this notion, the artist tackles the ecological and environmental issues he denounces through the resource of expression. He satirizes global conflicts and everything they entail with a subtle parody. He crosses the world surrounded by chaos and degeneration with his commitment to existence itself. The pieces that make up this series are symbols of vitality, from its very title: Animales en Expansión (Animals in Expansion) instead of Animales en Extinción (Animals in Extinction). His proposal advocates the beauty of existing and being there... the beauty of life. That is why the fauna species he represents are loaded with energy, reinforced by the use of bright and powerful shades of acrylic paint that sparkle on canvases of remarkable dimensions.

Andrey communicates through his works. In him persists the intention of dialoguing with the spectator, of upsetting the collective conscience of which he is also part. His intention is to express with his art his concerns as an individual; his works are a latent commitment in times that require reflection and awareness.


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