• Twitter Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon

Reynerio Tamayo / Cuban Slugger curated by Henry Ballate

Reynerio Tamayo / Cuban Slugger

July 7th, 2017

Tamayo Slugger.

 

By José Ramón Alonso Lorea.

Translated by Gary A. Anuez.

 

Reynerio Tamayo is a great painter, but, besides that he is a horny painter. We never know what goes first, whether the joke or his art, because it’s a homogeneous and intelligent mix of both. Whoever knows him personally will know that he will make you laugh with so much enthusiasm that it will cause you a sort of temporomandibular disorder. He will put your nerves and muscles in tension, and will cause injuries, almost fractures, in jaws and head and even bring tears to your eyes, but he will not stop. You could almost die. His creativity for humor has no limits, it must be something supernatural that happened to him when his mother bore him, and that spontaneous optimism and happiness transmits him to us in every gathering of friends, in every exhibition. His most recent project, with the theme of baseball, is a demonstration of it.

 

The artist claims that it was a... “debt he had for a long time”, because he had participated in several collective exhibitions with the subject of baseball, but never in a “solo” about this sport, which he wanted. The project, initially exposed in Havana, has been a round success, both public and critic. It’s a “tribute to the history of baseball and its giant protagonists, both past and present, but focusing more on those of the past.” The show projects that atmosphere of a sports party. It is literally a visual feast where Tamayo surprises us with a deep knowledge of the chronicles of this sport, mixed with his usual and fun manipulation of the history of art. It is a visual synthesis, serious and guasona* at the same time, of that “baseball madness that we are so passionate about.”

Al bate, Reynerio Tamayo

 

Por Janet Batet

 

Para el cubano, la pelota es mucho más que el deporte nacional. La pelota es pasión contagiosa, pretexto para la discusión acalorada y parte indiscutible de la idiosincrasia del cubano.  Baste mencionar algunas de las frases más afincadas en nuestro acervo popular (“Lo cogieron movido o fuera de base”; “Se las lleva en el aire”; “Le dieron ‘ao’ por regla”; “Esconder la bola”; “Estar arriba de la bola”; “Meterle en la misma costura”; “Me llevo el guante y la pelota”) para entender como la pelota está metida en la médula de todo cubano.

 

La pelota ha estado íntimamente ligada a la historia de la isla.  Proveniente de los Estados Unidos, el béisbol se introduce en Cuba hacia mediados de la década de 1860 -apenas dos décadas después de haberse jugado el primer partido oficial en los Estados Unidos, para pronto convertirse en símbolo de resistencia frente a la Colonia española, al punto de ser prohibido su juego por decreto del Capitán General de la Isla de Cuba, Francisco de Lensurdi en 1869 por considerarse antiespañola y peligrosa por el uso del bate. Así, desde sus comienzos, la pelota en Cuba ha estado asociada también a la historia política del país, las relaciones con los Estados Unidos y el problema racial, siendo estos algunos de los variopintos temas que asoman en  “Cuban Slugger”, la más reciente exposición personal de Reynerio Tamayo, presentada por el Kendall Art Center.

 

Graduado del Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) en 1992, la obra de Reynerio Tamayo Fonseca (Niquero, Cuba, 1968) hace eclosión en un momento donde la censura había dado al traste con el Movimiento de Nuevo Arte Cubano desarrollado durante 

 

la década de los años ochenta en Cuba. Como consecuencia, muchas de las nuevas propuestas de la denominada generación de los noventa tienden al uso de la metáfora en tanto tropo idóneo para la transmisión de sus preocupaciones e intereses temáticos. En términos beisboleros, podríamos decir, que a diferencia de los ochenta que usaban “la recta”, los noventa, optaron por “la curva” a la hora de lanzar la bola. 

 

Si bien el uso de la metáfora y el pastiche aúna la propuesta de Tamayo a la denominada generación de los noventa, es justo el humor, esa otra condición sine qua non de su obra, lo que le distingue del resto de su generación. La obra de Tamayo,  profundamente marcada por el choteo –ese rasgo distintivo de nuestra idiosincrasia acuñado por Manach, es siempre una carcajada donde la sátira deviene crítica y catarsis a un tiempo.

 

 “Cuban Slugger” es una suerte de elongación necesaria de otra exposición realizada por Tamayo este mismo año en Galería Habana. “Para mí era esencial poder hacer esta exposición. De un solo lado quedaba incompleta” –explica Tamayo. La exposición anterior, titulada “Cuba en pelota” constituía además, como su título evidencia, un guiño a la historia insular a través de la pelota, la pintura y la historia político-social de la isla. El título de la muestra hacía referencia a una obra icónica dentro de la historia del arte cubano contemporáneo: “La muerte en pelota”, de 1966, de Antonia Eiriz, rindiendo así en homenaje a esa grande del arte cubano de todos los tiempos.

Cuban Slugger dresses up for a party in Miami.                                                                                                

By Gary A. Anuez

                                                                                                     

Reynerio Tamayo was always a chronicler, as any good Cuban, 

“a jodedor” (A joker), a type of artist who narrates, that makes stories and at the same time legitimizes the story and almost always through laughter. He put things in place, but on that place where the art makes it simple. His great and long career always noted the Cuban man, in this case, with all its contradictions, its culture, its joys and woes without taking sides in ideologies or trends only in its almost religious zeal of a constant artistic practice that goes beyond the trends, gestures, positions or tourist needs, and attitudes that move Cuban arts within or outside of the island today.

 

In his disadvantage he has an advantage, in his pain and his limitations is the springboard to that height which can only be reached in this constant reinvention that the Cuban people practice in their desire to transcend an era, a time, a moment.

 

Cuba is baseball (among other things of course) and baseball has always been to Cuba the sublime. The practice of making a game, the moment of ecstasy and the sublime, a reminder to the needs of the day-to-day, what is lacking as the antithesis of what is left over, and a lot of talent in the history of this sport. In this time interval, which defines to generations of Cubans, and this artist exposes it as an educational and historical document on those past glories, but not forgotten of our national sport.


There are ingredients in Tamayo’s work, intertextual dialog from the appointment to the reiteration as a symbolic element to define a counterpoint that places us in this geographical space. In a rare animal of an island that survives due to the repercussions of the times, to the history, and geopolitics. Our history is static, immobile (aplatanada), but always hopeful and looking for ways for the resurgence, but collective at least individual that is where is the beginning of all restorative and creative work, the emancipation of all the darkness that precedes and exceeds life, the history itself.

The value of the art of Tamayo is that constant movement and interaction of the values of his culture, that continues to prevail in the political shocks and cyclones, molding his work in one direction. The importance of men in their constant becoming, in their struggles and battles for the spaces and moments that history and society forces them to face in this life.

 

In this example the sport is in celebration, and through art, the two spaces become authentic overcoming the social impact as the living memory that defines and absorbs several generations of Cubans who were great exponents of this sport, so rooted in the Cuban cultural tradition.

 

There is no better concern that defines an artist, and Reynerio, has always had the grace of melting languages and traditions into his artistic work, and not only from an aesthetic perspective, but from the cultural anthropological ingredients that have defined his artistic production for more than twenty five years.

 

Humor has always been the bridge to hope, the relief of life, the channel of harmful energy that; as humans, we change and transform into a battle where you always win with a smile, and make the journey of life a more pleasant place. It’s where the value of this visual offer that he presents to us, through the KENDALL ART CENTER, as a parenthesis to the transcendent; to this time and his vision beyond earth or space, but an experience of life.

 

April 2017.