Back in October 2013, the Art Gallery/Harbour Exhibition Hall in Varberg was converted into an Artist in Residence for the first time ever. Ángel Ramírez, one of the most prominent contemporary artists in Cuba, was there to inaugurate the residence programme. Ángel Ramírez expresses himself a uniquely artistic storytelling format and comments on the daily life in Cuba with heartfelt warmth, humour, inquisitiveness and precise clarity. He is a painter, graphic designer and sculptor and often mixes the different techniques in the same work of art. At the Art Gallery/Harbour Exhibition Hall, he worked on a wooden sculpture that he left in Varberg when his Artist in Residence weeks were over. The sculpture is now located at Kulturhuset Komedianten.
Ángel Ramírez on his exhibition:
The city streets of Cuba are full of hawkers and store owners. They all have their own rhythmical shouting depending on what they are buying or selling. “We will buy any little scrap of gold” is one of the cries you can hear from one end of the island to the other. Throughout history, gold has been stable and kept its value when using it in exchange for something else. All over the world, gold is bought and sold in the streets. “Any little scrap of gold” captures the real core in human relationships and has done so through the ages. Anything of value can be exchanged for goods, it might be gold or it might also be a tree, the life of a child, an vital organ or body part, oil or power. Everything, and more and more of what we value, becomes a commodity.
Ángel Ramírez, born and raised in Utopia, feels this truth is another reason for creating art. He started his artistic life as a graphic designer and even back then, he was mixing different techniques, thinking outside the box in a non-conventional way and incorporated all different dimension in the previously two-dimensional paperbased art. When he finished his studies at the School of Art in Havanna in 1982, he had already become famous for his renewal of the graphic art form. He had won awards at several Latin American graphic biennales and still, to this day, he works with graphics, mostly lithography, but primarily with painting and sculpture. Every image and object tells a story and an intelligent comment on the Cuban contemporary society. The signum of Ángel Ramírez is Medieval and biblical figures that are often brought together with things gathered on the street. Ángel Ramírez recycles the works of dead Medieval artists, rubbish and things that have been thrown away and sometimes also the works of contemporary artists. In the graphical series ”Dando y dando”, he makes four-handed images, chooses artists whose work he appreciates and invites them to a joint creative process. Ramírez responds to the other person’s expression with a bearded king, a symbol of power. He has worked with artists all over Europe, Sweden and Finland to name just two countries, as well as Asia, North America and South America. During his Artist in Residence weeks, he invited Nina Bondeson, a renowned visual artist working with imagery just like Ángel himself. They had an informal chat, artist to artist, at the Art Gallery/Harbour Exhibition Hall and this was open to the public.
Ángel Ramírez was born in 1954, has had several sole exhibitions and participated in various collective exhibitions all over the world. His works of art can be found at collectors and museums in different parts of the world.
Artist in Residence in the Harbour Exhibition Hall is a joint venture between Art in Halland/Halland Art Museum, Culture in Halland/Region Halland, Culture & Leisure authority at Varberg Town Council and Varberg Artist Association.