To be born in the forties of last century in a Cuba in transit between a dictatorship and a revolution that was nothing more than the preamble of another dictatorial regime, growing lulled by black and white Disney cartoons while the news were reporting the final leg of the Second World War, the sorcerer’s apprentice…, all that left a hotchpotch of memories in Jorge Carruana‘s vertiginous imagination.
These lasting memories will return as raw images of childhood when Carruana was already exiled in Rome. He was barely thirty years old and was in love. Sex and animated films were his hobbies, but his caribbean soul was divided between this newly acquired freedom and a resentful longing for what could have been and never was.
His paintings of the seventies and eighties absorbe psychedelic influences and the cultural nomadism practiced by the Italian transvanguard at that time, to develop a plastic work where erotic references (from porn movies to Japanese shunga) and Soviet posters overlap in dislocated spaces inhabited by couples embraced or copulating.
Fragmented bodies as well as spaces, feeling threatened because privacy never manages to be on shelter. The boundaries between inside and outside are broken, sexual enjoyment can not be isolated from the noise of bombs and fighter jets. Mickey Mouse enters surreptitiously the bedroom, his hand gropes for between the naked bodies; we see the yellow buttons of his shorts slipping out like a thief.
The exhibition that these days can be visited in Twin gallery, curated by Suset Sánchez, brings together a series of works on paper that the Cuban artist made in the early eighties in which he paid personal tribute to Japanese erotic engravings of the Edo period, so-called shunga art.
Shunga treats sex matter in a natural way, explicit as well as refined, that fascinated European mindset and its false modesty since from the end of the 19th century those prints began to spread throughout the Western market.
It is well known the influence that this subgenre of ukiyo-e exerted on artists who were seeking to break formal and mental patterns when representing erotic themes. But in general, it was a veiled allusion and few dared to place sexuality at the core of their expressive and conceptual searches.
Jorge Carruana recovered those bedroom scenes and the sinuous line that interwove the lovers. However, his slanted eyes reflect a premonitory fear, as knowing that they are living their last orgasm, but the “realm of the senses” puts a lead shield before the blast wave.
Hokusai’s octopus crosses threshold after threshold, sliding between windows and doors; its tentacles are twisted like broken mirrors and among its shards the lovers do not surrender but their bodies become translucent. Their naked skin is tattooed with marks of a misplaced word map.
Jorge Carruana Bances, Hi-ro-shi-ma
Twin Gallery, Madrid
Curated by Suset Sánchez
can be visited until 24th February 2018