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Ahmed Gomez

Ahmed Gomez

The most renowned trend in Ahmed Gómez’s paintings (Holguín, Cuba, 1972) consists of a conceptual game of pictorial traditions appropriations, seemingly contradictory amongst them, arising from the confronted ideological blocks of the 20th century. One of his paintings made in black over white spray paint represents a dialogue in which an “agent” asks another one: “Cold War?”, and the other one replies “Cool Wall”.

The proposal of combining the “Pin-Up Girls”, turned into US movies around the 40’s, and the Pulp Comics, with outbreaks of the concrete art originated in Russia before the October Revolution and initially fostered by its leaders, reveals the promiscuous relationship between aesthetics and politics. In such sense, Gomez’s art series is focused on understanding the aesthetic nature of the power discourses and subjecting it to a decomposition operation.

As Omar Pascual-Castillo points out, the artist “plays with irony with the illusion of successful beauty, questioning its effectiveness in an infinite dialogue of two traditions”. One of these traditions is the iconographic representation centered on the female figure of the 20’s in Europe, afterwards linked to the development of advertising and propaganda in the United States. The other tradition is the abstraction that starts taking place in Russia before the Soviet’s Revolution, and that from its inception contained both formal and ideological conflicts. Just think about the tensions between Malevich’s suprematism and the constructivism fostered by the Russian Revolution and upheld by Alexander Rodchenko. As a matter of fact, the latter was a pioneer in creating artworks that gave way to the poster and the aesthetics of the communist propaganda, with concrete abstract elements, without rejecting the use of beautiful female faces. Both traditions are treated by Gómez with his combination between reverenced and iconoclastic inherited from the popm, with a full clarity that the epic of progress, of female incorporation into the workforce, or the highlighting of that which is heroic, was a common narrative of the confronted powers.

Gómez was born in Cuba in the 70’s, when the abstract tradition had started going backwards in order to yield pace to a figurative art committed to the fact that instead of the socialist soviet realism proposed an exalted representation of the epic figures as of the learnings of mass cartels. Given proportions, Raúl Martínez’s “Ché” is comparable to Warhol’s “Marilyn”. And, as Castillo notes, Gómez is formed in the 90’s, when “the Vanguard - especially Russian, pre-soviet - was under checkmate, being questioned as paradigm”. During that decade, there was a collective art project conceived jointly by Gómez, José Ángel Vincench and Julio Ramón Serrano, that - even though never fulfilled - offers a key insight for the reading of his work, titled “Todo Abstracto” (Everything Abstract). The title was an evocative irony to the island’s situation during this special period, as well as a defense of the abstract movement that had been cut short with the revolution. During that time, by fusing together the cartoon - in the best north american pop style - and the painting, he turned into cartoon characters the works of the style of Mondrian or Van Desburg. Later, his “Retropinturas” (retro paintings) suggested ironic gestures such as representing a naked woman’s Bad Thoughts in a bathtub by using black circles, evocative of Robert Delaunay.

During this last decade, Ahmed Gómez has come up with other series from his safe haven in an antilles island. Instead of ironically retaking the way in which the power appropriated for itself the vanguards throughout the 20th century, he revisits two paradigmatic sources and re-updates them under the light of a context of an art that is ecological, both in its invoicing process as in its formal content. In doing so, he deconstructs and incessantly melts appropriations of the Tatlin Towers’ utopic project and that of the north american cartoons into embossed pieces of art built with recycled boxes and cardboards. Ensembles and modular installations with figures such as robots evocative of fiction films, as well as buildings built as personifications are artistic practices of recycling that include diverse treatments for cardboard: embossed impressions, cut, corrugated. In parallel, he incorporates to his art, as the ancient pover artists, materials which would suppose a transposition of domains and a class reflection: instead of a canvas he uses linoleum - which the more impoverished population of the island uses for their domestic constructions - and paints in seductive enamels embossed pictures of cars, machines and divas. This way, he continues bringing to life his conviction that “art is but a piece within an analysis equation”.

Adriana Herrera Tellez, Ph.D.

High Institute of Art (ISA). Havana, Cuba.
National School of Art (ENA). Havana, Cuba.
Vocational School of Art. Holguin, Cuba.
Mural paint restoration workshop. National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA). Mexico City, Mexico.

2014 – "Modern Times." Bloenphot Gallery. Curacao.
2013 – “Cachita: the infinte lightness of being.” Colegio Belen. Miami, USA.
2012 – “Rough.” Silvana Facchini Gallery. Miami, USA.
2010 – “Ways of Worldmaking.” Arturo Mosquera Collection. Freedom Tower. Miami, USA.
2010 – Beijing International Art Biennial. Beijing, China.
2010 – “Big sky west(chester).” The Farside Gallery. Miami, USA.
2010 – “Retropaintings.” CT Gallery. Coral Gables, USA.
2009 – “Deconstructing Pin-ups.” Museo Vault. Miami, USA.
2007 – “Cool Wall.” Contemporanea Fine Art. Miami, USA.
2007 – ISM Gallery. The Fire Haus Project. Miami, USA.
2007 – “Carnaval do rio!.”Arizona State University Art Museum. Tempe, USA.
2006 – “Avangard Pin-ups.” Miami, USA.
2006 – “Avangard Pin-ups.” Lart23 Gallery. Mexico City, Mexico.
2005 – Wet 2. Miami, USA.
2004 – Edge zone. Miami, USA.
2003 – “Landscape after the battle.” Miami Dade Wolfsonian Campus. Miami, USA.
2002 – Four on the floor. Miami, USA.
1997 – “Those who no longer are.” Holguin, Cuba.
1994 – Expo Itinerante. Mexico City, Mexico.
1992 – Individual Exhibition. National Center for Visual Arts. Old square. Havana, Cuba.
1991 – Expo Collateral. Havana Biennial. Havana, Cuba.
1990 – “All abstract.” Holguin, Cuba.
1989 – “Poetic.” Holguin, Cuba.
1989 – “The sculpture object.” Havana, Cuba.
1989 – Provincial Hall.

1987 – “La literatura en la plastica.”
1987 – Schools of Arts National Show. Havana, Cuba.
1988 – Provincial Show. Holguin, Cuba.
1989 – Mention. Small Format National Show. Las Tunas, Cuba.
2006 – First Prize. I Postmodern Art Biennial. Cordova, Spain.

The Mosquera Collection. Miami, USA.


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Ahmed Gomez

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