Jorge Alberto Cadi
In the streets of Havana, everyone knows Jorge Alberto Cadi as « El Buzo » - the diver - because he’s constantly searching material for his works in the city’s trash cans. Boltanskian by his memorial use of photography, Warholian by his taste for stitching images together, El Buzo always seeks to reveal what these photographs are hiding. The gallery showed his work for the first time ever in 2019; it will be introduced to a wider public in the second edition of Photo | Brut, a joint show hosted first by the Arles Rencontres photographiques, then by the Centrale and Botanique in Brussels in 2022. His work is notably part of the collections of the Musée national d’Art moderne (Pompidou).
In the streets of Havana, Jorge Alberto Hernández Cadi is only known as “El Buzo”. This Cuban artist, like his brother, suffers from schizophrenia and is nicknamed the “diver” because he is constantly looking for material for his works in the city’s rubbish bins.
It is on the outside and inside of containers such as suitcases, brass or wooden boxes that Cadi pastes black and white photographs on which he uses a blue pen. Thus, touching family scenes are transformed into grotesque, even satanic images, where the characters are deprived of their faces or characterized by diabolic features such as long ears, horns or claws. Far from addressing the theme of loss of identity, the ripped faces reappear in a macabre way on other parts of the composition. They are then not only glued but literally sewn onto the support.
As he expresses it, these anonymous photographs from another time speak of the emigration, the departures, the farewells, the separations that marked his country. The same goes for this predilection for suitcases. “When you close the suitcase, you bring together people who have never seen each other before. They are going back to travel… Sometimes in another dimension”. It is also about what has been sewn and uncoupled, what is being repeated. “We’re a bit sewn up by time,” he says.
A fan of meditative gymnastics and martial arts (Karate, Judo, Wing Tsun), Cadi practices, in addition to collage, drawing and pottery.
Together with Misleidys Castillo Pedroso, Cadi is one of the most famous representatives of Cuban art brut.
Foreword : Christian Berst.
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Jorge Alberto Cadi : el buzo, from October 12 to November 23, 2019.