Swimming on Dry Land/Nadar en seco
September 5 – December 18, 2019
Flaten Art Museum at St. Olaf College
The institution's press release follows:
Swimming on Dry Land/Nadar en seco features video and installation work by interdisciplinary artist Coco Fusco. The exhibition’s title alludes to a verse by the Cuban poet Virgilio Piñera, quoted in Fusco’s piece Y entonces el mar te habla (And the Sea Will Talk To You) (2012). Over the past three decades, Fusco has remained committed to issues related to the production of knowledge, gender, race, and power. Building on those themes, this exhibition explores the intersections of historicity, memory, absence, and the challenge that poetic license and critical vision represent for the Cuban revolution. As Fusco grapples with Cuba’s impact on her own political vision, she questions the country’s mythological place in collective global consciousness.
The works on view here invite us to consider how absence and invisibility can be forms of somatic and psychic violence and, alternatively, how images and visibility are forms of power. Fusco weaves together archival materials and footage of Havana in the postcommunist era together with poetic reflections that invoke forbidden subjects. For Fusco, the act of making visible that which has been rendered invisible or obsolete by those in power is a political act.
Of her work Fusco notes, “Visitors to Cuba invariably arrive because they are obsessed with its past. For Cubans, however, there is an ongoing struggle, both to shape a vision of a postrevolutionary future and to address suppressed events from the past and present. My work is part of that effort.”