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Cuban artists convert old refrigerators into modern art
[April 02, 2006]

Cuban artists convert old refrigerators into modern art

(EFE Ingles Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Havana, Apr 2 (EFE).- Well-known Cuban artists have done wonders for about 50 old U.S. refrigerators by converting them into works of art for the "Manual de Instrucciones" show that opened here on the weekend as part of the 9th Biennial Plastic Arts Exhibition.

Painters such as Roberto Fabelo and Flora Fong, actor Jorge Perugorria ("Strawberry and Chocolate") and Eduardo Abela, among others, for the next month will exhibit the appliances - many of them from the 1950s - that they augmented according to their creative visions, turning them into curious and surprising artistic pieces.

Fabelo is showing his work "Frio loco" (Crazy Fridge), which consists of a 1950s General Electric unit incorporated into a mural adorned with many of the figures who traditionally appear in his other works.

Painter Fong took an International refrigerator that had more than 50 years of domestic service and converted it into "Pez Cayo" (Key Fish), in which she illustrates the device with Cuban marine scenes and numerous fish, including a hook and fishing rod in the door, signifying the catch to be stored in the freezer.

"From the esthetic point of view, I was interested in turning the refrigerator into a sculpture, and so I ... made the fish and incorporated them into the body of the appliance," she said.

"In general, the exhibition - for me - is an injection of positive energy into current Cuban sculpture," she added.

One of the most popular works at the exposition, the venue for which is the Santa Clara Convent in Havana's historic district, is one by actor Perugorria, who was in El Salvador and not present at the exhibition.

Perugorria turned out a work of fridge-art entitled "Rocco," converting the refrigerator he had conversations with in "Strawberry and Chocolate" into a coffin.

Painted blue and laid horizontally like a casket, the fridge is festooned with yellow flowers, white veils and ribbons with the farewell "Bye Rocco" printed upon them.

The upper freezer door on the refrigerator is open, as on a double-door casket which allows viewing the face of the deceased, and visible within is the fridge's motor.

Among the other interesting and evocative works popular among the exhibitgoers is a Frigidaire appliance transformed into a confessional booth by artist Angel Ramirez and entitled "Hable Maria," an apparent play on the phrase "Ave Maria."

Artist Abela placed his refrigerator inside a huge "jaba," as the grocery bags Cubans use for their daily purchases are known.

"Se acabo el pan" (The Bread's All Gone) is the title of the work, which is based on the indispensable nature of the sacks, about which it is jokingly said Cubans are divided into "head, body, extremities and jabas," Abela told EFE.

He explained that the exhibit was the idea of Fabelo and other popular artists and - to prepare it - they had to buy the used refrigerators and have at least some of them fixed up so that they were fully functional.

Another of the popular works at the show is a fridge entitled "Cristal" converted into a spectacular can of the island's popular beer and whose creators offer the refreshing beverage to all who want some. EFE


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