Espinosa Between the History and the History

By Virginia Alberdi Benítez

Neither the theme nor the aesthetic affiliation are original, but the perspective assumed by the artist is. Antonio Espinosa Fruto (1974), graduated in 1997 from the Instituto Superior de Arte and winner of an important painting prize in the Spanish city of Segovia in 2004, which launched him into the international arena, occupies the Villa Manuela gallery of the UNEAC, with the exhibition La Historia es larga, la vida es corta, in which he makes obvious reference to the relationship between the weight of the historical legacy received not only by the artist but by any of his contemporaries and the perception of the course of life in everyday life.

This has been one of the recurring edges in conceptual art that gained strength in our country from the 1980s onwards. I remember Leandro Soto’s paradigmatic Family Portrait, which forms part of the collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts, where conceptualization was expressed in a figurative language that surpassed the limits of representation, but also the installationist encounters of many creators of the time.

Fortunately, the waters have taken their course and in successive years we have seen how conceptual art is confronted with responsibility, seriousness and a spirit of adventure in approaches that go hand in hand with the links between History, the Homeland, society and the individual, both from a speculative-philosophical point of view (I appreciate the particular poetics of Eduardo Ponjuán and Yoan Capote) and in an order of customary immediacy (e.g., some installations by Guillermo Rodríguez Malberti).

In the pieces displayed in Villa Manuela, Espinosa Fruto attests to a lucid and at the same time conflictive look at the impact of the historical account in which he is immersed as a citizen, and at the same time a meticulous and neat way of exposing concepts that incite reflection.

Alternating the object installation with digital representations of textures close to the collage, the artist walks between History with a capital letter and intimate history, between the gravity of the symbols of collective connotation and the signs of everyday life. All this in an honest, committed exercise, which is condensed in the pictorial relief of the word «resist» that defines at the entrance of the gallery the tension of a real metaphor.

A suggestion: that Antonio Espinosa does not abandon the realization of the landscape. In Villa Manuela, as in the margin of the exhibition, he shows a shocking black and white marina. And it is that this artist exerts all a magisterium in the accomplishment of those works.