(Cuba, b. 1958)
Gustavo Acosta is obsessed by the power of architecture, both it's external grandeur and the darker histories it may conceal. In an Acosta painting, what at first glance looks like a nostalgic urban vista, on closer inspection reveals buildings of fortress walls and catacomb interiors. As impressive as his cities appear, they are empty of people, desolate and unlivable. Acosta's abandoned cities suggest the false promises of history, that all that remains of revolutions and empires are their architectural facades.
Acosta's paintings have the uncanny power to evoke the psychological condition of exile. We have all had the experience of returning to a place from our past, only to discover that even if the place still physically exists, it remains illusory, little more than a backdrop to our memories of another time. This quality of temporal displacement, of past and present coexisting, is central to Acosta's art, and is perhaps his greatest achievement.
Skeptical of ideology, political or aesthetic, Acosta's paintings combine historically disassociated areas of artistic expression: three-dimensional space, theatre, and Modernism's emphasis on the two-dimensional surface. For Acosta, the notion of aesthetic purity is just another form of imprisonment. He pursues his artistic vision with supreme indifference to fashion. His beautifully crafted paintings, with their majestic, cloud-laden skies, reflect Acosta's conviction that art is a sublime realm, an essential antidote to the intellectual fervor of the moment and the bankrupt ideologies of the past.