April 12, 2021 - KfW Stiftung - Hamlet Lavastida: Cultura Profiláctica
April 12, 2021

KfW Stiftung / Künstlerhaus Bethanien

Hamlet Lavastida, Cultura Profiláctica, 2021. Papercut on wall, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Hamlet Lavastida
Cultura Profiláctica
April 16–May 16, 2021

Künstlerhaus Bethanien
Kottbusser Strasse 10
10999 Berlin
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 2–7pm

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Cultura Profiláctica: with this title Hamlet Lavastida opens his solo exhibition at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, making use of a term from the health sector, which he believes has revealed numerous structures of a prophylactic culture during the pandemic, not only in his country of origin, Cuba, but worldwide.

Lavastida is showing two immersive installations made of paper cuts on opposite walls. On one side, the transcription of Javier Caso's interrogation (2020), which went viral, is linked to a letter by the poet Heberto Padilla written to the revolutionary government in 1971. Caso, a photographer based in the United States with Cuban roots, was interrogated by the Cuban security authorities due to his friendly relationship with independent filmmaker Miguel Coyula and actress Lynn Cruz, whose documentary Nadie circulated in international media but was censored in Cuba because of its critical position towards socialism. The name Heberto Padilla also represents an historical caesura in the perception of the Castro regime in Cuba during the 1960s and '70s, which dealt harshly with the criticism and dissent expressed in Padilla's later poems. Under pressure, Padilla was forced to distance himself from his own statements, committed to the Castro government and was only able to correct this years later. For many left-wing political intellectuals in Latin America and Europe, the "Padilla Affair" meant the end of their support for the Cuban revolution.

On the opposite wall, the artist displays a compiled archive of various iconographic and linguistic testimonies from the period in which the institutionalisation of socialism took place in Cuba, especially between the 1960s and '80s. Their installation on the wall is reminiscent of artistic-propagandistic designs in public space, as known from socialist Cuba, mounted on the wall with the help of stencils. Through his personal confrontation with the cultural archives, which are not recognised as such within Cuban society, Lavastida creates a register and demands a critical examination of Cuban history. In doing so, he criticises the lack of education and memory work in the social system of today's Cuba.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue including texts by Coco Fusco and Iván de la Nuez. For further information please visit: www.bethanien.de.

Hamlet Lavastida (b. 1983 in Havana, Cuba; lives and works in Havana) works with posters, prints, collages, photos, and videos. His work, in the sense of representative archaeology, arose from the need to create an objective criterion for certain hidden areas of the implementation, administration and functioning of state political practices in Cuba. Central to Lavastida's artistic practice is the reappropriation of texts, images and symbols, as well as political speeches and ideological terminologies, which he questions critically within the framework of his work. The relevant factor is their reinterpretation using the same or a similar format to that in which they were originally created.

Hamlet Lavastida is currently a KfW Stiftung scholarship holder in the International Studio Programme at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Other KfW Stiftung grant holders participating in the International Studio Programme in 2021/2022 are Daniel Lie (Brazil/Indonesia), Aziz Hazara (Afghanistan), and Gaёlle Choisne (France/Haiti).

The KfW Stiftung is an independent, nonprofit foundation established in October 2012. Promoting cultural diversity is one of its top priorities. To promote intercultural dialogue, the KfW Stiftung offers artists from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia the opportunity to live and work in Berlin for 12 months and to participate in the studio programme of the International Cultural Centre Künstlerhaus Bethanien.

For further information, please contact presse [​at​] bethanien.de.

KfW Stiftung
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Cultura Profiláctica
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