Glexis Novoa

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Glexis Novoa | about

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Photo and copyright: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Glexis Novoa Vian (1964 Holguin, Cuba). He lives in Miami, US since 1995 and he shares his time working on his studios in Vedado, Havana and Wynwood, Miami since 2013. Novoa also works on site specific wall drawings and ephemeral projects anywhere around the world.

Glexis Novoa is a visual artist. Since the late eighties, he produces art in many different media, including painting, performance, installation, and, most recently, graphite drawings—the material that would become his trademark. Novoa has attained international recognition for his site-specific wall drawings, which exist on the border between ephemeral art and architecture. His work repeatedly turns to the architecture of power and politics as its main subject.

Novoa’s work is featured in numerous private collections, international museums, art in public places and has been awarded with several awards and residencies.



Quotes:



"One with the most conceptual finesse was Glexis Novoa´s gallery of drawings—a sort of miniature museum of Soviet iconography camouflaged inside a ruin, a rich contrast of meanings that isolated us in a heterotopic perceptual experience."

Hamlet Fernández (Art critic, professor at the University of Habana) Havana, Cuba 2016.



"... Grupo Provisional members Glexis Novoa, Carlos Cárdenas and Francisco Lastra presented Rauschenberg with a crudely painted placard bearing an Indian head that said, ‘Very Good Rauschenberg’, and asked him to sign it, which he did. Although they addressed Rauschenberg in these performances, the artists were once again making fun of the hypocritical obsequiousness of the Cuban cultural bureaucrats, who, despite the anti-American stance of the Cuban government, had given the ‘Yankee imperialist’ free rein to show his art in several of Havana’s art spaces at once, a gesture they viewed as a form of neocolonial submission. It was a symbolic assault on the cultural bureaucracy in which body language spoke louder than words."

Coco Fusco (Interdisciplinary artist and writer), New York, New York 2015.



"Novoa communicates this latent power, endemic to the built environment through his powerful drawings, which reference humanity’s capacity to breach the porous membrane separating civic reform and totalitarian oppression through the very structures they design and build."

Jill Deupi
(JD, PhD Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator, Lowe Museum), Coral Gables, Florida, US 2015.



"...some of the most memorable work (XII Havana Biennale) came, this time, from two who were associated with the ‘golden age’ of the 1980s, [...] the same Novoa, a member of the conceptually and critically aggressive generation..."

Rachel Weiss (Art critic, writer & curator), Chicago 2015.



"Glexis is the essence of the revel and the survivor. He's been confronted with different forms of control and power, but always resisted through his art. His multi-faceted practice is rooted in his ethics, spirituality and humanism, which I find deeply inspiring."

Catherine Sicot (Independent Curator, Producer & Arts Consultant), Toronto 2015.



..."Like in Etapa práctica, Novoa plays into the power structures of the art market; this time with the market's perception that the legitimacy of Cuban art is contingent upon where it is produced (Cuba), eschewing diasporic productions and increasing transnational relations among Cubans in and outside the island that have been destabilizing previously rigid territorial and ideological demarcations.  Novoa both reinforces and challenges those market biases by producing work in Havana intended to circulate outside the specific charge of its conceived site and for the consumption of audiences in Miami. That Cuban artists in Cuba have been doing exactly that for decades now only compounds the ironies and contradictions inherent in such biases but also helps understand Novoa’s gestures of return as performative and strategic. Returning to these various aspects, Novoa's new series and its intended functions ultimately reveal the inherent tensions and inevitable interconnectedness between the local and global in today’s cultural production, as well as, the de-territorialization of nation and diáspora."...

Elizabeth Cerejido (Independent curator) Miami 2014.



"Novoa's work is part of the living memory of Cuban art, which activates what can be thought of as contemporary tradition, and a great value in the context of a youth culture that forgets easily."

Magaly Espinosa Delgado (Lecturer professor of aesthetics and art theory at the Instituto Superior de Arte) Havana 2013.



"The grandiose scale of Silveira's installation is countered by Glexis Novoa tiny surrealist graphite wall drawings combining architectural and biomorphic forms that one comes upon here and there in such unexpected places as the edge of a wall or in an out of the way corner."

Saul Ostrow (American art critic and art curator), New York 2012.



"... Equally important is the impact they have been leaving since the mid-nineties, the Cuban artists who have lived in the city (Monterrey, Mexico). Glexis Novoa is one of the most striking examples of the Caribbean heritage."

Patrick Charpenel (Freelance curator and collector), Mexico DF 2007.




"... Novoa uses the tradition of drawing seen in the detailed backgrounds of Flemish and Northern Renaissance paintings to sharpen our perception and melancholy awareness of the implacable onwards flow of events that where set in motion long ago, but have arrived at apocalypse now"

Paula Harper (PhD American art historian and art critic), Miami 2006.




"Rem Koolhaas once wrote that in the future, all cities will be generic, as bland and as nondescript as airports. Many of Novoa's drawn landscapes, [...] depict the generic city of the future: unspecific urban spaces that could be located in Europe, in India, or Africa. The cityscapes seem ostensibly prosperous--the buildings are tall, the streets are clean--but entirely dovoid of life. There is not a single soul on the streets. The cemetery-like coldness of these environments is further intensified by the artist's choice of slabs of marble as suport for his drawings. Novoa provokes our thoughts: Are these dehumanized cities what the future holds in store? Or they already a reality in many parts of the world?"

Rubén Gallo (PhD
Director of Latin American Studies Program at Princeton University), New York 2005.



"When the show closes, the museum will whitewash the walls, erasing the drawing. "Worcester: Gold and Smoke" critiques the powerful, as represented in the drawing's architecture and its depiction of Worcester's halcyon industrial past, not to mention the unsettling and near-constant references to surveillance. The temporary nature of Novoa's installation both critiques power -- in this case, the vaunted art object and its marketability -- and undercuts it.

That's part of Novoa's recipe: as imbedded in history as a city is, or as imbedded in relationships as a person may be, all will eventually turn to dust. In essence, we're all exiles. This land, these structures we build, these bodies we inhabit, are illusory. Enjoy, observe, and take responsibility, this work says. Then pack your bags and move on."

Cate McQuaid (Art critic for the Boston Globe), Boston 2004.



“The artist’s handling of “hyperspace” is impregnated by an action factor central to his artistic and political system. The total flux of images set against perpetual horizons is invariably countered by a device introduced to distract or dislocate. In his 2001 installation at the Miami Art Museum, the drawings on the museum walls encountered a challenging counterpart in the form of a public telephone. Visitors could call anywhere in the world for five minutes. Crayons next to the telephone encouraged callers to write down their comments, typical of the graffiti of the telephone booths. In this context, the spectator recovered his critical distance, his individual and collective temporality; instead of simulated illusions, hypnosis was transformed into action, into experience.”

Marcelo Pacheco
(Chief Curator, Museum of Latin American Art), Buenos Aires Argentina 2003



"Novoa’s work juxtaposes imagined and real architectural structures within a seemingly unified space informed both by the tenets of Renaissance perspective and seventeenth century Dutch landscapes.  More specifically, his marshalling of these earlier illusionistic aesthetic codes operates in tandem with and in contrast to a marked sci-fi aesthetic and contemporary principle of digital morphing—that is, with his structures that combine, for example, details of the Taj Mahal with Mesopotamia’s Ziggurat."

Kaira Cabañas (Art historian), New York 2002.



"Although probably based on personal experience, Novoa's art is not as much a critique of any one system as it is an ironic subversion of all attempts at manipulation and control. He exposes icons and symbols to reveal them as the empty theatrics they really are."

Giulio V. Blanc (Curator and art critic) Miami 1993.



"... Glexis has persevered to satirize the language of totalitarian propaganda, but it has done in a way that -due to the ignorance- is imperceptible to the social watchdog. In Mexico has taken a step further: he appropriates of the centrality, the weight, the failed greatness of fascist and communist art, but diluting the references to reach so also destabilize the commercial propaganda and the "Japanisation" of corporate images. His case is exceptional to the extent that it has extended its traits knife against the totalitarian capitalism, the market and its media machine."

Osvaldo Sanchez (Curator and art critic), Mexico DF 1993.



"His work is a sarcasm of art and media manipulation. After a "Romantic Stage" consisting of a direct mockery of tricks, poses and artistic pedantry in art without the slightest ambition status (liked to call himself "The worst painter of the world"), Novoa now develops the "Practical Stage" hi paints good, build a personal style, sells and is recognized. His cynicism is greater than that of Polke or Richter: someone who becomes a good painter in order to ironically dismantles the system gears... and takes advantage above all.
But also his "good" painting is in itself the most stinging criticism to rhetoricalization of communication in Cuba, adding edges to his gesture. His signs as a way of slogans on billboards of political propaganda are meaningless signs that can be read as constructivist flavor abstract paintings. He also painted portraits of heroes in the best Stalinist style, playing with some fascistic aesthetic made fashionable by postmodernism, and in allusion to deification of leaders.

With both elements Novoa build huge altars, the sum of all this very dense web of ironies and counter ironies about art, culture and politics."

Gerardo Mosquera (Freelance curator, critic & art historian), Havana 1990.



"... 'El Buren de Tomasito' first Cuban engraving that sound and furthermore, moves, due to the joyful intelligence of Glexis Novoa."

Antonio Eligio Fernandez, Tonel (Artist, writer & curator), Havana 1987.