The work of José Toirac is defined by its ability to observe and dismantle historical and political processes. His references, therefore, are always essential characters of politics and history, through which he relates the universal, to the reality that surrounds him. He intends to show the zones of the silence of the official history, the truth that always hides behind the power. His work is strongly censured by the authorities in Cuba. Part of his creative process is to use images from the public domain (magazines and official newspapers), because once they are published, supposedly they passed the censorship of the State. His work travels along the line that separates politics from reality, exposing that intermediate zone where manipulation mechanisms are visible. This series is entitled “Waiting for the Right Time”, and represents a summary of years of work, of trial and error, negotiation and censorship. For years, for all his censored projects, he always heard a government official say, as an excuse for the censorship, “I’m sorry, the project has nothing wrong, but it is not the right time for it to be shown”. Toirac still lives in Cuba, a political artist needs to live in front of the powers that be, otherwise, it would be easy to create political art. Finally, it is worth saying that this series has been censored in Cuba, and has been waiting for its right time.
In this exhibition, the series to be shown will be working from “Waiting for the Right Time”, which consists of combining the image of Fidel Castro with classic advertisements of consumer products. We will also exhibit works from three other censored series: “Vanitas” (a compilation of portraits of the first ladies of Cuba, a position not recognized by the revolution); “Alma Pater” (a series of portraits of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ historical male figures caught in moments of tender embrace with their children or grandchildren; and “Crisis of the 50’s” (a series of pornographic selfies taken by university students with government-issued cell phones, hidden behind delicate watercolors of the typical Cuban products displayed in the photographs). Finally, in our Video Room, we will present the new edition of the artist’s iconic piece – “Opus” showing on the screen a series of numbers pronounced in a single speech given by Fidel Castro at a school opening.
Pan American Art Projects was established in 2001 with the mission to exhibit and promote established and emerging artists from North, Central and South America, providing a context for dialogue between the various regions. We represent a strong roster of contemporary artists of the Americas and hold a collection of important works from Cuba, Argentina, the U.S. and the Caribbean. Our programming reflects these complementary arenas providing a comprehensive historical context for contemporary tendencies in the visual arts from these regions.
The gallery was born from the personal collection of our owner, Robert Borlenghi, who as a founding member of MOCA Los Angeles made his first trip to Haiti in 1990 and found many great artists that were relatively unknown to collectors in the U.S. He made it his mission to collect and exhibit underrepresented artists from Haiti, Jamaica and later Cuba. This mission then transferred to our gallery when we opened in Dallas in 2001, when we began adding actively represented artists from North and South America.