Juan Miguel Pozo
„Die Zukunft war ein Ort“
April 26th – June 15st 2019
opening reception Thursday April 25th 5 – 8pm
during GALLERY WEEKEND BERLIN we are open Friday April 26th 12(noon) – 9pm
Saturday, April 27th 11am – 8pm
Sunday, April 28th 11am – 7pm
When Juan Miguel Pozo came in 1994 from Havana to Europe, he had endured the so-called „Special Period“ in Cuba before: A time of economic decline, owed partially to the breakup of trade with former Eastern bloc countries and bringing along an economy of scarcity right up to severe food shortages. Pozo was lucky at the time to have been discovered as an artist on the streets of Havana by a German journalist and to have been recommended to friendly artists, who supported his entry to Europe which eventually led him to a grant at the academy of arts in Düsseldorf. Besides his development as an artist his emigration thus also had very concrete, existential reasons, or rather are these biographic circumstances and his oeuvre inevitably and visibly intertwined.
Interestingly and despite the language barrier Pozo found in Berlin more connections to his own identity and past than in Barcelona, a preceding station of his migration to Europe. The Berlin legacies of socialist culture and aesthetics, for example in architecture, Russian movies or the eastern-oriented art, offered the possibility of connection to and examination of those social structures he just left behind. Juan Pozo describes his coming to Berlin „like a moment of harmony with my past. The city was simultaneously new and known.“ To be able to have this reflection, the leaving of Cuba was of significance. There he found local social conventions and regulations as formative in everyday life, something he experienced as a kind of self-censorship. In this respect the change of the form of society was a mental liberation.
In the images of the exhibition „Die Zukunft war ein Ort“ („The Future Was A Place“) not only places like Berlin and Havana are assembled but also the essences of utopia and dystopia. In front of monochrome, more or less abstract geometric basic shapes urban architechtural objects float in the foreground, i.e. they lack ground or foundation, whole pieces of land seem to be suspended in space like components of model kits. Though apparently the result of an urban building plan but without an identifiable purpose for inhabitants other urban elements like staircases appear non-attached in space. Through techniques like abrading and scraping all objects in the images seem worn and aged, in addition there are incomplete or abstract areas and runny colors on the fringes. The motifs thereby overall appear rough and marked by gradual decay.
Juan Miguel Pozo‘s paintings connect everyday artificiality as a feature of dogmatized utopias with their inherent structural weaknesses and their result in disintegration and collapse. For Pozo these experienced processes, respectively periods of time are one entity, the ideologic vision inheres its own demise as well as a social ruin bears the retention and gain of a cultural essence. Herein substantiates the title of the exhibition, because the future was a place, an idealized topos of the past, which is unable to stand the temporal dynamic of the actual present without disruption.
text by Matthias Bergemann