The National Museum of Fine Arts displays the exhibition “Marcelo Pogolotti: vanguardia, ideologia, sociedad,” which gathers more than forty works of art from the renowned Cuban writer and painter.
Marcelo Pogolotti is still our contemporary man. In Cuban avant-garde (late, to a certain degree), he was a very polemical and distinctive figure. His work did not gloat in aesthetic fulfillment or formal renovations. He rather betted on social commitment, the ethic dimension of the creative exercise.
The exhibition, displayed at the National Museum of Fine Arts until May 21, is a vivid evidence of the artist’s growth. Works from his early beginnings (where you can notice certain patterns for breaking molds) to his most absolute, mature works are seen here.
In El intellectual (1937), in the words of the curator of the exhibition, Roberto Cobas, Pogolotti knew how to fuse together high modernism and classicism in a crystal-clear and strong allegation on the dilemmas and fears of artists and thinkers in a tumultuous time: the dawn of the WWII.
Evasion is a beautiful and revealing metaphor: the woman tries to escape the oppression of the context by immersing herself in such idyllic, fancy world of arts, certain art.
Frankly, Pogolotti’s landscapes were not idyllic at all. The conflicts and threats of capitalism were represented there: workers and their demands and vindications; on the other hand, the oppressive frames represented by factories and cannons. You can feel the strain beyond traces and colors.
Not all of them understood nor assessed Pogolotti’s contributions. Despite he was accepted by Italian futurists as one of their own (he distanced himself from them in the wake of fascism when the artist confirmed his progressive stance).
Some believe his works did not represent the “Cuban feature.” Certainly, his spirit seems more universal.
But Pogolotti’s obsessions were not attached to fashion: they were supported on a deep, sharp reflection on the artist’s responsibility. Another exhibition, “Marcelo Pogolotti, del pincel a la pluma,” is being displayed at the Information Center of the National Museum of Fine Arts.
Pogolotti lost his sight when he was 36. But it was not the end. He wrote newspaper articles, essays, and short stories. He gave lectures and did radio with a clear cultural and educative vocation.
Not for nothing Marcelo Pogolotti is known by his pure legacy. Thirty years after his death, the National Museum of Fine Arts displays such a great exhibition. Pogolotti is still conveying a present message.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff