Kadir López: Signos de la memoria

Kadir López, Signs of the Memory

Last modified: February 13, 2023

Numerous words can be used to describe the work of Kadir López (Las Tunas, 1972). His artistry and creativity follow an escalating process among the most important artists of Cuban contemporary plastic arts. The reason is clear: his creations open to the verbal praise, as well as the consolidation of the eloquent admiring silence, typical of every great work.

In this artist’s pieces we find the definite composition that in many occasions inaugurates unusual possibilities. His exquisite drawing, polished in the security of the finest lines, unfolds, with a kaleidoscope character, in the final precision of forms and features. In his textiles and cardstocks he spreads imagination, and gathers symbols of the history of Art, of the social and cultural history of our country, and of his personal history, with skill and professionalism. He experiments with forms, combinations and colors… Since his beginnings, his work attracted the attention of critics, collectors and gallery owners. He became indispensable within the panorama of today’s Cuban plastic arts, where he is considered also as one of the most famous sea painters. He is one of the most remarkable essayists of the vanguard Cuban art.

The pieces that this painter, draftsman and sculptor took to Los Angeles Fair (United States of America) in 2010 – which were a sequel to a series of iconographies successfully exhibited at the gallery La Acacia under the title of Signos (Signs), during the Biennial of Havana 2009 – had an unprecedented international launch. In these works, the artist recreates his project based on the individual and his memory, as a way to defend the personal and social identity. The originality of the pieces was an interesting addition: they were made on real advertising signs from the 1950’s, which were manufactured using the process of serigraphic engraving, but instead of the traditional pigments they used the techniques of firing porcelain; this means that the colors were baked independently after been applied on the steel, in different layers. On this metal support Kadir paints, draws and realizes his impressions with pigments of ceramics, resins, enamels and other materials that, because of their nature, permit the transparency of those years Havana’s photographic images. In this way arrived these extraordinary Signos (Signs) that impress the spectator.

These creations don’t wink at yearning, neither at the nostalgia, nor at the values of the recent past. They come from – and encourage- the serious and audacious research on an essential period that needs to be much more scanned in order to better know its derivations and consequences in today’s life. These works are a splendid pictorial reminder to the forgetful mechanisms; in a way, they contribute, from the art, to the reconstruction of an unknown memory to the younger generations.

These pieces try to find their space, and they find it in the reason and the thoughts of the observer –regardless of his age-, as if each one of these signs-paintings, or paintings-signs, emerged from the confluence of encounters and evocations, from the fusion between matter and consciousness, between then and now, between the ludic and the wise. Then, the project establishes a connection or a dialogue with the public, which Kadir attempts to furnish with images and objects that belong to the memories, to his past, or to the past of his predecessors. “The city enters in the sign that once was within it. Each piece completes a cycle: past, future, present, and also oblivion, memory, remembrance… It never ends”, the creator has said.

Kadir López graduated from the Superior Institute of Art (ISA) in 1995, from School of Art of Camaguey in 1990 and from the Secondary School of Art “El Cucalambé” (Las Tunas) in 1986. His creations are exhibited in important institutions like: the Art Nexus Collection, Bogota, Colombia; the Institute of Art of Sotheby, London; the Richard Guggenheim Collection, New York; the Museum of Art of the State University of Arizona; the Museum of Cuban Art of California, Long Beach; in Vienna, Austria; the Rubin Museum of New York, among many others. In Havana, his original pieces can be observed in his studio/workshop Habana Light (Boulevard de San Rafael, La Habana Vieja) and in his studio Light House, at Avenida 47, # 3430, between 34 and 31, Reparto Kholy.

Toni Piñera
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Journalist for more than 30 years at the Granma newspaper, art and dance critic, professor at the National Academy of Fine Arts San Alejandro, curator of Cuban art exhibitions (former director of the La Acacia gallery, Havana), poet.

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