Art for the Hungry.

The enigmatic universe of Belkis Ayón lands at the Museo Reina Sofía

The enigmatic universe of Belkis Ayón lands at the Museo Reina Sofía

Museo Nacional Reina Sofía

“Belkis Ayón. Collographs”

Until April, 18 - 2022


Until April 18 we can enjoy in the Museo Reina Sofía the first retrospective dedicated to the Cuban engraver Belkis Ayón (Havana, 1967-1999).


Through a selection of 84 technical collographies of engraving consisting of the incorporation of textured materials on a board of cardboard or wood, as collages , produced between 1986 and 1999, the exhibition delves into the short but intense artistic trajectory of Ayón. The mastery acquired by this artist with the collographies allowed her to overcome the two-dimensional barrier of engraving and to acquire forms and textures without antecedents within the artistic panorama of that time.


The exhibits, starring ghostly and mysterious male figures, are inspired by the mythology of Abakuá, an Afro-Cuban secret society that today still has more than 30,000 followers in which only men are allowed. The compositions, executed in black and white, pursue an aesthetic similar to comic vignettes, in which the dualistic character of the Ñañiguista religious ideology is highlighted. However, beyond religious influences, Ayón’s work is also focused on profoundly political aspects of the collapse of socialism in Europe and the Cuban economic and ideological crisis and vitalists, very much in force in the 1990s: censorship, fear, frustration, inequality, violence, exclusion and lack of freedom.


The series of dark and dramatic prints produced at the final stage of the engraver’s artistic production reflect the existential anguish and internal conflicts that she suffered, and which triggered her tragic suicide in 1999.



Art for the Hungry.


Text: Iustinian Bolohan.

Photos: Iustinian Bolohan.


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