Moïses Finalé (Cárdenas, Cuba, 1957)
Often referred to as an artist of ‘the eighties generation’, a time when fresh and irreverent forms of creative expression emerged in Cuba, Finale was part of the artistic collective called 4×4 that staged two exhibitions in Havana in 1982. While collective work was a defining characteristic of the 1980s, Finale never adopted the more didactic approach of other artists from his generation who engaged with notions of racial prejudice or other social issues. Instead, he set out to create a magical world inhabited by marvelous creatures and characters.
The hallmark of art created by Moïses Finalé is the range of cultural references he introduces which are drawn from quite disparate societies including ancient Eygpt, sub-Saharan Africa, India’s classical period, pre-Columbian Mexico, as well as from cultures of the Caribbean such as Haiti and Cuba. These, transformed by the artist’s imagination, offer complex compositions where artistic perspective has been abandoned in favour of a single plane incorporating hieratic poses and flat, frontal masked faces.
Noted for the beauty of his compositions, his expression of African scenes and atmospheres has been described as ‘a form of identification, sympathy, admiration and celebration of its societies and cultures, its objects, symbolisms, spiritualities and religions.’ Items associated with Santeria which is the most popular of Afro-Cuban religions, such as altars, necklaces, or attributes of the deities, feature frequently in the stunning worlds he creates.
Finale has travelled through different creative periods. New technical and conceptual concerns have been adopted along the way. His range of colours has been reduced. And he has introduced non-art materials such as metals to create body armor or masks for his fantastical figures. He has also engaged in an artistic practice where he has created flat metal sculptural pieces depicting the same imaginary scenes.
Finale entered the Instituto Superior de Arte in 1979 and exhibited in Cuba throughout the 1980s. At the end of the decade Finale moved to Paris although he continued to spend time working in Cuba and participating in the art movement on the island. The 1980s marked his appearance in solo exhibitions in France (Paris, Toulouse, and other cities) as well as in Spain, Switzerland, and the US (including New York and Miami), although throughout his career he appeared internationally in group shows. His work has been shown in cities as far afield as Chicago, Santo Domingo, Beirut, Geneva, Milan and elsewhere.
Video of Moises at work – in Spanish, with French subtitles.