Pedro Alvarez(Havana, 1967 - Tempe, Arizona, United States, 2004)

When I look at Pedro Álvarez’s work, I have the uncomfortable feeling that I am losing an important part of the game in which he was involved. My interpretations always leave me dissatisfied. And neither am I entirely content – I apologize for this -- with the readings made by some of my colleagues. I have a feeling that there is much more that we can’t really decipher, although at times it seems that we understand the fundamental mechanisms of his creation.

In the reign of the freedom of necessity

The image of the bourgeois, middle-class interior was repeated in In the reign of the freedom and necessity, 2003, which continued to present an ideal of American-style comfort under Cuban socialism, more than the aesthetic uniformity provided by the apartment buildings typically built by the movement of micro-brigades. Two figures dressed as former colonial officers (probably from Spain or the United States, the two powers that ruled over Cuba in different periods) contemplate at a distance the drunken scene in which three black characters dressed as domestic slaves try to kill a turkey. The concern for drink and food seems to be the distinguishing element dividing not only the classes but the races to which both groups belong, the latter devoted to the rude necessities of the body, while the distinguished military are so distant from them in the enjoyment of their "freedom" (freedom provided by power?) that one of them even requires the help of a spyglass to contemplate the scene that is happening a few steps away.

Perhaps these simplified readings would make Pedro Álvarez smile, but I hope he would not refute me entirely.

Year: 2003
Technique: Serigraphy on heavy paper, with touches of direct painting by the artist
Size: 108 x 79.5 cm

Theme: colonialism race politics