The first solo exhibition in Europe by the Cuban artist Eduardo Rubén will be opening in Berlin at House of Egorn, on 11 June. Hailing directly from the current Havana Biennial, the show at Sharon Zhu’s new Berlin space will be curated by Victor Wang. House of Egorn opened its Berlin location in April and dedicates itself entirely to art from Latin America and Asia, thereby filling a void in Berlin’s otherwise thriving art scene. The gallery has recently been singled out as a highlight during the Berlin Gallery Weekend.
Born in Havana in 1958, Rubén’s art practice spans 35 years. Originally trained as an architect, Rubén represented Cuba in the 1995 Venice Biennale and participated in the Havana Biennale in 1984 and in 1994, as well as in many other solo and group exhibitions.
Rubén is known for his geometric exploration of space on canvas, and this exhibition brings together a range of paintings made between 1996 and 2015. These works highlight different moments in the artist’s career, and showcase the diversity in his artistic approach. The exhibition contains unique archival materials from the artist’s collection that provide the viewer with a historical context to position the work.
Several of the paintings emphasise Rubén’s methodology of revisiting and reworking earlier ideas. In works such as Abandono (1996), Rubén returns to his examination of form and shape, volume and architecture, in an almost digital analysis of space, developed, however, in a pre-internet Cuban context. In what Rubén calls ‘variations’, paintings such as Sin Título (2012) provide insight into the unique aesthetic Rubén developed in post-revolutionary Cuba, perhaps in search of an alternative space, a futuristic landscape, with no beginning or end but with multiple possibilities for movement. Works like Sin Título (2014) break away from earlier aesthetics yet expand on former approaches.
Minimizing shape, movement, and form, the work plays visually with its own materiality. Seemingly light, the background almost wrinkles under the weight of the floating blocks. The exhibition will also feature Rubén’s most recent series of works, Combatientes. Where anthropomorphic ruins speak to each other amongst a black backdrop. Perhaps Rubén’s most dramatic series of works, Combatientes speaks of a type of collapse, a falling apart of society, city, and landscape. Resonating with the condition of the city of Berlin in the post-1989 period, Combatientes assumes new meaning through its display for the first time in Germany, a country whose recent history has been shaped by the geopolitics of war.
Eduardo Rubén, Curated by Victor Wang
11 June – 25 July 2015
House of Egorn Berlin