Should I be a tropical painter or should I not : Francisco Alejandro Jim, Noel León

18 May - 30 July 2024
Bode is pleased to present Should I be a tropical painter or should I not, an exhibition of Francisco Alejandro Jim and Noel León curated by Liatna Rodríguez in Havana.
Should I be a Tropical Painter or Should I Not. Observaciones sobre la decadencia de las formas en el trópico is an exhibition focused on painting. Engaging in a dialogue the artists Francisco Alejandro Jim and Noel León, the show strives to connect apparently opposite paths which, however, meet at core points. This exhibition is an attempt to bring together old dichotomies: the abstract and the figurative, acrylic and oil, light and shadow, the small and the large, and above all, the struggle between content and form. Starting from these contrasting points the exhibition establishes a dialogue between two Cuban painters. While at first glance we encounter the focus on painting itself; further we realize that it gets deeper, centering on the idea of tropicalism This external concept pigeonholes due to its geographical, identity, political, social and even aesthetic essence, emphasizing a reductionist tendency of the market.
Examining the book Tristes Tropiques, by Claude Lévi-Strauss, or reading the aesthetic investigations by Helio Oiticica or Flavio Garciandia, we recognize that this concept of “Trópico” is nothing else than a colonialist apparatus. It encompasses a gaze perceiving only an attractive exoticism or a paradisiacal state full of falsehood. Tropical colors contain both a bright and violently blinding light, and above all, a light that always casts voluptuous shadows. With all this, how to condense the idea of Painting? And from what perspective shall we read this tropic – from the beauty of a beach or rather from her harsh reality?