Galleria Continua of San Gimignano presents “Mónadas”, the first solo exhibition in Italy by Cuban artist Elizabet Cerviño.
The theme prompting Cerviño’s (Manzanillo, 1986) artistic practice is creation. Her works start when the work begins and finish when it is received. Hence, in Elizabet Cerviño the process is a ritual: a mean to combine idea and gesture. Her pieces, either paintings, performances, verses or installations, far from mimicking nature, are expressions of skies, snows, smokes and fires. Elizabet Cerviño’s work is rich in elements drawn from different religions: indeed, the oriental ones, and the ones practiced by the pre-Columbian American civilizations, but also Catholicism, whose sacred numbers are the numbers assigned to her series, and Judaism, as seen in some of her works’ titles.
“Mónadas” echoes “Na”, the solo show by the artist in Galleria Continua’s Cuban spaces which opened in September 2016. On the occasion of “Na” Elizabet Cerviño painted in white the street in front of the Gallery in Havana’s Chinatown. The sound “Na”, like the monad, represents the one, the sum of all things and at the same time the “un-divided”, the void, a natural entity according to Cerviño which self-purifies in her work. Thus her work attempts at non-representing the ego and at distilling it poetically in the meanings of white, in a drop of water on the canvas, in the sudden turning into mud of the soil in the rain.
Having attended a university in Havana, the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), in the years in which students were invited to dismiss canvas, brushes and chisel, the artist turned away from traditional painting and sculpture. Often, instead of adding matter to the canvas, she removes it with sandpaper, acids and scratches while silhouetting horizons and landscapes.
Her performative work, sometimes gentle like a stroll, sometimes energic like a spear perforating cement – we wish to remind you the performance “Palabra lesionada” the artist realized in Milan in Palazzina dei Bagni Misteriosi on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition curated by Laura Salas Redondo and conceived by Marina Nissim, “¿soy Cuba?” – is realized through the repetition of simple movements such as breathing, lying on the floor or crushing and blending petals to represent a “spring day” (“Días de primavera” is a performance by Cerviño which took place at PAMM (Pérez Art Museum Miami) within the exhibition “On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection”). While some of her objects look minimal, others feature vernacular qualities. The latter stem from the non-finite, the becoming of things, the contemplation of the divine, the counter-waste of natural energies that, albeit tiny and unconnectable as the monads, constitute the whole.
Galleria Continua and the artist thank ArtistaXArtista, the artist residency project by the Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa, and the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome, where Cerviño spent two months between 2017 and 2018, for her experience in Rome and for the production of the works in “Mónadas”.
ELIZABET CERVIÑO (Manzanillo, 1986) lives and works in Havana. Her most recent solo exhibitions include: “Na”, Galleria Continua La Habana, Havana (2017); “PAUSA”, Micromuseo La Columna Callao, Lima (2017); “Hoguera”, Red Miller Residency, Vermont (2015); “360° Paisaje”, Galería Villa Manuela, Havana (2014); “Hálitos”, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana (2013). Among her residencies: “ArtistaXArtista” in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome and Galleria Continua, Rome (2017); “The Pocantico Center”, a Rockefeller Brothers Fund residency, Tarrytown, New York (2016); “Residency Unlimited”, funded by Cuban Artists Fund, New York (2016); “Vermont Residency Studio Center”, Red Miller, Vermont (2015); “Tengo frio”, Henry Moore Foundation, Glasgow (2011). Among her awards: shortlisting for “International Art Award for Cuban, young artist of the Year’s 1st Edition”, Farber Foundation Cuba; shortlisting for “Maretti Cuba-Italy Award, II Edition” (2014); the “Workshops with the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco”, Playa Jibacoa, Havana (2013); the creative grant “Juan Francisco Elso” at Hermanos Saíz Association (AHS), Havana (2013). Her group shows include: “Cuba mi amor”, Galleria Continua / Les Moulins (2017); “¿soy Cuba?”, Palazzina dei Bagni Misteriosi, Milan (2017); “On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection”, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami (2017); “Nido sin árbol”, UNAICC, National Union of the Architects and Construction Engineers of Cuba, Havana (2016); “Jugar en serio: Pintura expandida”, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (CDAV), Havana (2016); “Intersections: Havana / Portland,” Hoffman Gallery, Lewis & Clark College, Portland (2016); “Anclados en el Territorio”, Galleria Continua / Habana (2015); “New Colors”, Robert Miller Gallery, New York (2015); “La Patria que vuela”, House of Ergorn, Berlin (2015); “Peine de agua”, a project within the main exhibition of the 12th Havana Biennial, Havana (2015); “Por el dos”, 6th Salon of Contemporary Cuban Art, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (CDAV), Havana (2014); “Para quebrar los muros”, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana (2013); “Detrás del muro” The 8th Floor, Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, New York (2013); “No es la la ausencia”, Pabellón Cuba, Havana, (2011).