This exhibition bridges the gap between the two figures Ricardo Brey sees within himself: the historical artist working at a critical time in the history of Cuban art; and the highly contemporary artist who lives and works in Flanders, whose artworks discuss the widespread consumption of slick, mass-produced imagery.
For the first time ever, this exhibition shows a comprehensive picture of the oeuvre made by Brey when he returned to the Americas for almost two decades – producing artworks which most people know only from scattered pieces, show in various gallery exhibitions.
The earliest works in the exhibition date back to 1985: the installation The structure of myths, and 74 pages of Papeles de Verrazano, both from 1985. Amongst this vast show are the 21 Showcases, three dimensional drawings on paper rolls drawing out of a mechanical piano; also 21 of Brey’s ‘boxes’, which unfold into a multitude of books, drawings, sculptural and performative proposals; and ten large photo-based works made recently by Ricardo, which were produced for and in Cuba.
Fuel To The Fire continues even outside of the museum, with 1004 drawings deriving from 99 showcases of Universe (2002-2006) shown in the grand surroundings of the 19th century Athenaeum nearby Antwerp’s Central Station, and the solar system piece titled Every Life is a Fire (2010-2012), which stands within the high altar of Saint-Paulus church, alongside its usual collection of Antwerp’s most significant ensemble of baroque sculpture.
Ricardo Brey: Fuel To The Fire, until 10 May, Museum of Contemporary Art, Leuvenstraat 32, 2000 Antwerp. For more information visit www.muhka.be
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1. Ricardo Brey, Axis mundi, 2006, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Tanit, Munich-Beyrouth photo M HKA.