The Havana-based Cuban artist Diana Fonseca Quiñones opened her solo-show at Sean Kelly Gallery presenting a selection of paintings, sculptures and video works. The artist uses a childlike innocence to evoke a sense of longing and escape while commenting on larger social issues pertinent in her country.
This duality is especially well translated in her video works where childhood attempts to defy boredom like the continuous lighting of matches or the pointless painting of grass straws can be seen as a commentary on the nation’s yearning to break free and escape. The video Pasatiempo shows the artist stitching the shape of an airplane into the first layer of her skin as she used to do when she was younger. What once was a pastime now becomes rich in allusions to travel, adventures and freedom.
In her work Puente the artist embroidered words like fear, clarity, enemy and disgrace on a page in two separate books. Each word is connected by a threat to its counterpart in the other book, creating a long bridge between the two objects that are placed about 5 feet apart from each other on the wall. The book is reminiscent of a diary and again plays with the idea of isolation and escape.
The idea of passing time can also be seen in the work El Capital, an intervention in three volumes of Das Kapital by Karl Marx. The artist used a whole punch to perforate the pages of the book, which can either be an act of boredom or an allusion to the porous nature of communism in Cuba.
It is through these minimal gestures that the artist achieves to subtly express her criticism against the Cuban government—however, never compromising her poetic and beautiful aesthetic.
Diana Fonseca Quinones’ exhibition at Sean Kelly Gallery will be on view until February 6th, 2016.