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THE NATIONAL ART SCHOOLS OF HAVANA, Cuba returns to the Milan Triennale

Ballet School design Vittorio Garatti photo by Lorenzo Carmellini 1961-1964
School of Ballet, project by Vittorio Garatti (photo by Lorenzo Carmellini, 1964)
THE NATIONAL ART SCHOOLS OF HAVANA, Cuba returns to the Milan Triennale it has been modified: 2019-03-06 di Benedict Flowers

At a distance of 50 years from the last participation (Triennale XIV-1968) and on the occasion of the 500 years since the founding of the city of Havana (San Cristóbal de La Habana - 1519), Cuba returns to the Triennale di Milano for the XXII International Exhibition, entitled "Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival".

As part of the exhibition, which questions the role of design in the difficult relationship between man and nature, the Cuban Pavilion offers the extraordinary experience of the National Schools of Art in Havana. It is a complex born from the precise desire of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara that Cuba offered the teaching of the arts to young Cubans and those coming from all the developing countries. Schools are non-conventional examples of organic architecture that established a relationship of mutual exchange with the tropical nature that surrounds them. Despite the difficulties and the inevitable transformation that the structures have undergone over time, they are still a fertile place full of stimuli for creativity and the birth of new talents.

To tell the past, present and future of the National Schools of Art in Havana, the curator of the Pavilion Jorge FerFernández Torres, in collaboration with a large working group, used unpublished materials made by the same students and professors of the ISA (Universidad de las Artes). It is a suggestive series of images and videos that goes beyond the boundaries of classical historical / architectural iconography, documenting from the inside the outcomes of an exemplary and still alive process of integration and cultural contamination.

The interest of the exhibition is also linked to the Italian contribution, both at the birth of the Art Schools and the ongoing activity for their relaunch. The Italians Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti worked together with the Cuban architect Ricardo Porro to design the five different buildings - designed and built between 1961 and 1965.

dividing the projects (School of Plastic Arts and Music at Ricardo Porro, Ballet and Contemporary Dance at Vittorio Garatti and Arte Drammatica at Roberto Gottardi). In a climate of total creative freedom, the three young architects designed buildings that embody the essence of "cubanity", each of which retains a personal imprint. Their contribution was decisive for the development of a complex of great charm and originality, but also capable of resisting the ravages of time, leaving open the prospect of new restoration and completion - only two of the five buildings were completed at the time.

The exhibition at the XXII Triennale di Milano is therefore an opportunity to present two recent Italian projects that deal with the revitalization of the Art School complex, included in the Watch List of the World Monument Fund (2000) and in the World Heritage Tentative List of the UNESCO (2003). The first has as its object the drafting of a Plan of Conservation and Management of the entire complex. The project is coordinated by the Polytechnic of Milan, with Princeton University, the University of Parma, Assorestauro and the Vittorio Garatti Committee and funded by the Getty Foundation as part of the Keeping it Modern program.

The second, financed by the AICS (Italian Agency for Development Cooperation) of the MAECI (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) provides for the restoration, structural consolidation and re-functionalization of the Theater School of Roberto Gottardi, with the technical advice of the DiDA Department of the University of Florence.

The Cuba pavilion at the XXII Triennale di Milano is an expression of the Ministerio de Cultura de Cuba / Consejo Nacional Artes Plásticas through the Commissioner Norma Rodríguez Derivet.

Il curator is Jorge FerFernández Torres Director of the National Museum of Bellas Artes de Cuba e co-curators Christian Zecchin and Umberto Zanetti. The exhibition is sponsored byEmbajada de Cuba in Rome and from Consulado de Cuba en Milán.

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