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Gustavo Pérez Monzón

Capture2CaptureGustavo Pérez Monzón with his installation Vilos, 1981/2015 Photo: Pericles Lavat, courtesy CIFO Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation

Gustavo Pérez Monzón (Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, 1956), began to gain recognition in the late 1970s, and participated in several group exhibitions including: Pintura fresca; Sano y Sabroso; De lo contemporáneo; and Trece artistas jóvenes, among others. Monzón’s work is grounded in a conceptual framework; he takes inspiration from sources as diverse as mathematics, numerology, tarot.

“In a general sense, I created works that functioned like systems sustained by a logical order and that were at the same time perceived emotionally with all the arbitrariness and depth that a work of art allows… I don’t see that the works I made are based on parameters associated with science or technical knowledge, but on arithmetical concepts, or rather, on numerological concepts. In numerology, numbers do not only express quantities; they also enclose meanings and, consequently, relationships that give them an order.” - Gustavo Pérez Monzón

Pérez Monzón decided to give up painting in the late 1980s, and began to focus his attention on teaching art. In the early 1990s he moved permanently to Mexico, where he still resides. After an encounter with Ella Fontanals-Cisneros in 2014, and her collecting of several of his seminal works from the 1980s, Pérez Monzón decided to resume his artistic practice, which he continues to this day.

Gustavo PÉREZ MONZÓN is one of the most important Cuban artists of his generation, mostly known for introducing Conceptual art to his native Cuba. He first emerged in the early 1980s as part of a generation of artists loosely known as Volumen Uno, whose exhibition at Centro de Arte Internacional (1981) is considered a watershed in the history of Cuban art. Drawing influence from conceptualism and minimalism, Pérez Monzón has honed a unique sensibility towards organic materials and geometrical forms. He is recognized predominantly for his vast works on paper of dots and lines made from mixed media; large scale line drawings carved from aluminum powder and pigment, and immersive installations of wire, stone and thread. 

Solo Exhibitions (selection):

Group Exhibitions (selection): 
2022 Relaciones, movimientos y causas internas -
Galería La Cometa, Madrid, Spain. 
2021 Gustavo Pérez Monzón: Recent works,
Marlborough New York Gallery, New York, USA. 
2015 Tramas, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO),
CIFO Art Space, Miami, FL, USA.
Tramas, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
de La Habana, Havana, Cuba.
1986 Espacios Receptivos. Planetario Tabasco 2000,
Villahermosa, Tabasco, México.
1980 Luna Llena. Pinturas [Gustavo Pérez Monzón/Ricardo Rodríguez Brey]. Casa de Cultura de Jaruco, La Habana, Cuba
and more.
2019 Maco, Cibrian Gallery, CDMX, San Sebastian-Donostia, Spain.
2018 ¿Hasta cuándo las vacaciones?, Arsenal Habana,
Habana Vieja, Havana, Cuba.
2015 Después del Edén, SAPS, Cuernavaca, Mexico.
1988 Artistas cubanos, Galeria Tetriakov, Moscow, Russia.
1985 De lo contemporáneo, Museo de Belas Artes de
La Habana, Havana, Cuba.
First Look: 10 Young Artists from Today’s Cuba, Westbeth Gallery, Nueva York, Estados Unidos de América.
1980 Imágenes del Cosmos. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes,
La Habana, Cuba.
1979 Pintura Fresca. Galería de Arte, Cienfuegos, Cuba/Residencia de José Manuel Fors, La Habana, Cuba
and more.

The practice of tarot emerged in Italy around the 15th century as a form of entertainment, which later spread to much of Europe. The Major Arcana are 22 individual numbered cards, each one represented by a character or symbol, such as Fool, Death, the Wheel of Fortune, among others. Before the emergence of the printing press, tarot cards were illustrated by hand, being commissioned by artists as if they were a pictorial or sculptural work. This tradition has continued through history, and more recently we have recreations of the tarot made by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, among other artists who have been attracted to the deep mysticism around the subject and the visual impact of tarot cards.

The Ella Fontanals-Cisneros collection has three tarot decks by the Cuban artist Gustavo Pérez Monzón. During the 1980s, Pérez Monzón became interested in some ancient esoteric knowledge systems, mainly numerology and tarot, which significantly affected his vision of the world and his work. These 3 tarots - known as the Point Tarot, the Norka Tarot and the Angel Tarot - comprise the first releases of the EFC Digital Collection.

View digital artwork available for purchase here

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