Cuba Culture

Cuban ephemeral art festival lasts 90 minutes

Posted June 07, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Culture.

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba’s first ephemeral art festival lasted barely an hour and a half, until the butter paintings and ice
sculptures began to melt, the children ate the cupcakes hung from a tree and the grand piano went up in flames.

There were sculptures made from flowers, paper and cardboard egg trays and blindfolded domino players, all competing for
the best exhibit of transitory art in a square in Havana’s inner city.

The winner, Jeanette Chavez, a 22-year-old art student who won a night out at Havana’s famed Tropicana cabaret, poured
gasoline on a wooden piano structure and set fire to it while minimalist piano music blared from speakers.

“I built it and I destroyed it, to show art as change and not as an object that can be used,” she said. “It’s not a sculpture that
will endure in time like a Michelangelo’s David.”

A tower of ice with books inside, evoking the Alexandria library and lighthouse of ancient Egypt, melted in the tropical heat.
Children swarmed around a tree, grabbing at chocolate cupcakes, which artists had hung like mobiles.

“The works will stay here until they disappear,” said Mayrelis Peraza, director of Havana’s Experimental Centre for the
Visual Arts and organiser of the First National Festival of Ephemeral Sculpture.

The most elaborate entry was ‘The Four Seasons,’ a series of relief paintings made of butter by hotel chef Jorge Gonzalez,
who copied the fruit and flower portraits of 16th Century Italian painter Giussepe Arcimboldo.

Member Comments

On March 29, 2004, rhiannon gould wrote:

I’m currently in my third year of a fine art degree in plymouth university. I work within the temporary art sphere, using different fruits. Currently I’m working on an installation based around entropy using the strawberry as a metpahor for the body in its own decay. Do you have any information or images from the festival that you could send me? I would be very intreseted and the images would be much appreciated as I’m finding it difficult to find information on this subject apart from the obvious Anya Gallacio, Helen Chadwick etc. thank you in advance, Rhiannon Gould

On July 09, 2004, Shona Johnson wrote:

I work in the area of Community Cultural Development in the Art and Culture Branch of the City of Melbourne. Recently held an event called Eating the City - diverse community and cultural groups created an edible three dimensional map of the city centre which was devoured by all present. I was fascinated to discover the Cuban Ephemeral Art Festival.