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Edward J. Sullivan


The history of twentieth century Cuban art has been dominated by research and criticism of three phases: modernism (Wifredo Lam, Amelia Pelaez and their contemporaries), the Generation of the 1980s and contemporary artistic projects. Those interested in developments in Cuban art are inevitably gratified by such critical attention. Throughout the twentieth and into the present century Cuban art has played a central role in the international discourse of aesthetic evolution in the western hemisphere. In speaking of the formation of modern Cuban art we must engage both with work produced by artists living on the island as well as that done abroad. Since he beginning of the Revolution and the start of several waves of large-scale emigration to places such as Miami, New York, Madrid and other sites, the Cuban diaspora inevitably has come to constitute an important element in the definition of Cuban creativity.

One often thinks of Cuban art as referential. Concrete symbols or narrative signs recur throughout its development from the first vanguard generation that emerged in 1927 to the most recent work of internationally known contemporary figures. Issues of national identity or references to political events often lie at the heart of visual -expression in Cuba. Yet abstraction has also played a significant yet much less well known role. In the early 1950s the art world in Cuba, like other nations in the Americas and the Caribbean, felt a serious desire to evolve in directions similar to those paths taken by artists in Europe and North America. There was, on the part of some of the more experimental younger painters and sculptors, an anxiety to become more international  or universal  (to use the terminology often employed at the time). This meant looking beyond what were judged to be the confines of the national references in the art of the second generation of vanguardia painters to consider the consequences of the varieties of international abstraction, from the boldness of the New York School of Abstract Expressionists to the more subtle applications of non-objectivity of the Informalists in Paris, Madrid or Barcelona. In 1953 a group which became known as Los Once (the Eleven) held their first show in Havana. Althoug their number varied from year to year, the core group of artists (both painters and sculptors), including Antonio Vidal, Hugo Consuegra, Tomas Oliva and Guido Llinás, comprised one of the most vibrant forced of resistance to the traditional visual vocabulary of forms in Cuban art. The evolution of the group made for a significant chapter in mid-century art history in Havana. This development, however, was cut short by the Revolution and the ultimate departure of some of the artists for places abroad and the consequent dissolution of the group.

Guido Llinás left in 1953 for Paris, where he has lived ever since. The distance he felt from Havana (and his home province of Pinar del Rio) served to make his emotional and visual affinities for Cuba more acute. He continued to produce work in the abstract style he had developed by the beginning of the 1950s. The post-Cuba works often have generic titles (Signs, Black Painting, Red Painting). These paintings they blend the gestural qualities that relate him to Abstract Expressionism, with veiled references to Afro-Cuban ritual. Circles, arrows, the suggestion of an axe or a cross motif make their appearances in these pictures. None of these references specifically refer to a particular cult or form of worship. There is no instance of folkloric or primitivist self consciousness. German art historian Christoph Singler has written eloquently on Llinás affinities for Afro-Cuban mythology, yet all instances of this is redolent of subtlety and a lack of specificity. There is no nostalgia nor overt longing for a specific time or place.

The work of Guido Llinás is discreet in size. Each painting demonstrates an assuredness and an expertise in the craft and the art of painting. Llinás continues to evolve in a way that both testifies to his personal and aesthetic energy and to his assimilation and reinvention of the symbology of his Cuban heritage.


Biography. Guido Llinás: Pinar del Rio 1923 - Paris 2005


1965:Latin American Prints, Galeria Sudamericana, New York
1966:Latin American Prints,
Italian American Institute, Rome, Italy
Brunidor Editions, Art Center, Vaduz, Lichteinstein
1969:The Book as Work of Art, Modern Art, 1989, Paris
1971:Brunidor Editions, Book Fair, Frankfurt, Germany
1973:Contemporary Printmaking, National Library, Paris
International Prints, Art Center, Vaduz, Liechtenstein
The Contemporary Print, National Library, Paris
One Mon Show: 25 Woodprints, Andre Biren Gallery
1974:Third Prints Biennial, Frechen, Germany   
1976:One Man Show, Andre Biren Gallery, Paris
1978:Great and Young of Today Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris
May Salon Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris
Letters and Signs, Kunsthall, Malmo, Sweden
Latin American Images, Villaparisis Cultural Center, France
1980:Jeon Chieze Prize, Hotel de la Monnaie, Paris
1981:International Miniature Prints
1982:Le Trait, Cité Internationale Des Arts, Paris
Xylon France, Montpellier Theatre, France
Xylon Pluriel, Pablo Neruda Center, Corbeil-Essonne-France
Xylon France, Arts Library, Nancy, France
1983:Bois Pluriel, Croissy sur Seine, France
The Multiple Image, Wittersdorf, France
One Man Show, Andre Biren Gallery
Le Trait, Cite Internationale Des Arts, Paris
1984:Fourth Wood Printmaking Biennial, Digne Les Bains, France
Le Trait, Cité, Internationale Des Arts, Paris
Xylon 9, Gerberhein Museum, Winterthur, Switzerland
1985:Xilotraces, André Biren, Gallery, Paris
May Salon Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris
1986:Bois Pluriel Linternal, Evry, France
May Salon Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris
International Printmaking Exhibition,
Chateau De la Tour Aiguees, Luberon France
Le Trait, Fifthieth Anniversary, Postal Museum

Fifth International Biennial Of Contemporary Printmaking,
Modern Art Museum, Liege, Belgium.
1989: 15 Printmakers, Domaine de Wegimont, Liege, Belgium.
Words and Images, Dade Cultural Center, Miami, Florida
1987:Gravure Contemporaine de Relief, Chateau de la Tour Aigues, France
Visita de ateliers en Seine St. Denis Bibigny, France
1988:III International Biennial of Graphic Works, Modern Art Museum, Lieje, Belgium
Gravure Contemporaine de Relief. Musee Chateau de Annency, France
Xilografia of Today, Commanderie de Templiers de la Villedieu, France
1990:International Graphic Arts Exhibition, Kuntsverein, Frechen, Germany
1991:Artists' Books, Instituto de Francia,Ciudad de Mexico
Editor Gallery, 20 years of activity, Geneva, Switzerland
International Exhibit of Miniature Prints, Gamlebyen Gallery, Fredrikstad, Norway
Woodprints and Lithographs, Dominio de Wegimont, Liege, Belgium
Mixed, Artist's Books Library, Jacques Delarue, Paris
Typography and Book Arts, Mairie du VIeme, Paris
Printmaking Masterworks of the Twentieth Century, National Library, Paris
One Man Show, Les Ombres Blanches Gallery, Toulouse, France
One Man Show, Andre Biren Gallery, Paris
1997:The Art Museum, Florida International University
2003:Bill Maynes Gallery, New York City. Lehigh University Art Galleries,
Bethlehem, Pensylvania
Maxoly Art Gallery, Miami Florida
2004:Miami Dade College. Centre
Gallery Pesqueira Gallery, Key Biscayne, Florida


ADA, Roberto Altman, I'Avant Garde, Paris
On Deplore La... Julio Cortazar, Brunidor, Vaduz
Poemas de Jose Lezama Lima, Brunidor, Vaduz
Huit Sonnets, Severo Sarduy, Echolade, France
U'Cenote de Gerard de Cortanze, Echolade, France
Le Long du Fleuve, Michel Butor, Brunidor, France
Ailes, Michel Butor, Brocéliande, Paris
Fibres, Michel Butor, Brocéliande, Paris
4 Poemas 4 Grabados, Waldo Rojas El Peral de Montreuil, France

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