A Russian, a Chinese, and a Cuban walk into an Art Show
Alex Yuzdon | Guo Jian | Rubén Torres LLorca
Curated by Aluna Curatorial Collective
An Aluna Art Foundation Exhibition in collaboration with Arts Connection, Art Bastion and Juan Ruiz Gallery
The twentieth century was marked by the rise and fall of great narratives that attempted to draw near the horizon of social utopia but led to totalitarianism. Nonetheless, the epic iconography of stereotypes and collective paradigms, common in communist countries, also extended its echo to film, advertising, and the rhetoric of American propaganda during the post-war period and throughout the Cold War.
The products of this aesthetic of the heroic can be read in the 21st century, from the perspective of other codes and not a few paradoxes. Seen from the distance that time imposes, these images induce an ironic confirmation of their delusion: “History –as Lewis Mumford concludes– is the most severe critic of utopias”. But if our contemporary reading of these images of the past demonstrates their unquestionable fall, their persistence reflects the paradoxes of a present dominated by the omnipotence of capital that prevails beyond any ideology. The end of utopias did not take us to the announced end of history. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11, “new walls of conflicts’’ have arisen, in the words of Slavoj Žižek. “We have arrived at a dystopian situation”, Hayden White states: “History has turned itself, into that nightmare from which we cannot awake”.
Behind the curtain of humor that Guo Jian, Alex Yudzon, and Rubén Torres Llorca overlap with those epic iconographies there is a critique of culture that not only scrutinizes the past: it opens ways to reflect on reality outside the discourse of utopias, but also outside the no less perversely manipulated fears of the present.