Jose Manuel Fors: Fragmentos (Fragments)

October 21 – December 5, 2011

Fragmentos (Fragments) was Jose Manuel Fors’ first exhibition in Miami, and the artist prepared a considerable amount of new works, including pieces and installations that will be created in situ.

Fors was a member of the legendary group Volumen I and participated in their first exhibition in 1981 with an installation. During the Eighties, Fors produced installations that were ground-breaking for the Cuban context, and these are perhaps his best known works. Working with natural materials, such as leaves, was a challenge at a time when something like that was not generally considered as art in his country. His installations and other works of this period leaned towards a more conceptual approach.

Jose Manuel Fors’ work has always revolved around memory in one way or another, either through his photographs or his installations. When he began to exhibit in the late Seventies, photography was far from being his technique of choice. He was trained as a painter and his excursions into photography began when he had to photograph some of his installations. He liked the effect and from then on photography became part of the creative process for him. Instead of the universal and trite symbols of time, Fors chose decadence, as a metaphoric image through his dried leaves accumulations, to render the passage of time. This was the backbone of his first solo exhibition titled Acumulaciones (Accumulations) in 1983. In those early years, he was engaged in exploring the concept of the passage of time and the evocative power of memory, and these installations proved to be the ideal visual solution. 

In our exhibition we are presenting different kinds of works, which Fors has been developing over the past couple of years. The series Atados (Bundles), is made with actual memorabilia that belonged to his family and friends. In the series Objetos (Objects), circular compositions are made with fragments of photographs. In the project room we will exhibit one of his ‘leaves installations’, in which he uses natural dried tree leaves, and which includes also a video.

He is also presenting a couple of works from his ‘umbrella’ series. Fors selected important artworks from the universal art history and used them in his umbrellas. His appropriations include images from masters such as Bosch, Rembrandt and da Vinci among others. It is his way of presenting us some of his major inspiration sources, which remarkably consist of classical painting.

Fors was born in Havana in 1956, where he currently lives and works, and attended the San Alejandro Academy. His work can be found in important museums and institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba; MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in Los Angeles, California; The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas ; the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, among others.

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