El Hilo Rojo - Curated by Sandra De Giorgi

EL HILO ROJO – curated by Sandra De Giorgi

El Hilo Rojo - Curated by Sandra De Giorgi


The works of this exhibition are all united by one common thread, the color red. Despite using different styles, each artist is united by the passionate language of red. The use of red can be traced throughout art history; artists have used red to convey passion, royalty, violence, sensuality, and contrast. Red is intense, elemental and dramatic. It can be lucky, protective or political. Its symbolic value is endless.

Thread of Red

The title of this exhibition has both literal and symbolic meaning. It references the exhibition’s focus on works depicting the color ‘red’. The phrase also references an overarching idea; while these works are clearly connected by their color scheme, these connections go far deeper. Chinese legend refers to the ‘red thread of fate’, an invisible cord that binds those destined to meet one another, similar to soulmates. While these artists may not be soulmates, perhaps there is an element of destiny in the way the color red has continued to manifest itself throughout history. A look at the symbolic and emotional value of the color red shows how these artists are part of a local and universal ‘red thread’.

Cultural value of ‘red’

The political connotations of red may at first glance be the most obvious Cuban connection. Red is traditionally associated with communism; living in a communist country, Cuban artists could use red to represent their allegiance to this system. In Cuba, red also has protective properties. The color is often displayed at the entrance of a household in order to ward off negative thoughts and energy, keeping them outside the house. Similarly, Chinese culture has a strong connection to red, one that the artists in this exhibition are aware of. In China, red symbolizes good fortune, luck, and happiness, and is seen in abundance during Chinese holidays and gatherings. Like Cuba, China’s communist government adds another symbolic layer to red. Flora Fong and Gilberto Frómeta’s use of red is clearly influenced by the color’s significance in Chinese culture.

Red’s Art History

While red has clear ties to Cuba, the artists of this exhibition are also part of a larger art story. The symbolism of red goes beyond local cultures, becoming part of a universal understanding.

Red is the color of passion. Red’s history of passion goes back to one of humanity’s greatest dramas: the Passion of Christ. In Renaissance altarpieces and triptychs, artists like Matthias Grünewald would use red to symbolize Christ’s passion and the blood he shed for humankind. Artists in this exhibition and throughout history have taken advantage of red’s passionate connotations. Women are depicted in red tones and with red lips. It seems a portrait of a woman is not complete without some rouge on her lips. The rococo artist François Boucher’s Portrait of Mme de Pompadour at her Toilette (1758) certainly attests to that. Depicted applying make-up, Louis XV’s mistress is the embodiment of female beauty. The red she applies to her lips is symbolic of her seductive qualities. Eduardo Roca (‘Choco’), Lancelot Alonso and Carlos Quintana follow this tradition; their portraits of women all display red lips, a universal symbol of feminine charm.

Red is a color of challenge. When we ‘see red’ we are often challenged by its intensity and its boldness. Franz Marc, a German expressionist, was very interested in the symbolism of color. He saw red as brutal and heavy, a color to be opposed and overcome by other colors like blue and yellow. His work, Fighting Forms (1914), shows the challenge red poses in relation to the other colors and the dynamism with which it fights back. Red can be used as an effective contrast; its intensity often needs to be balanced out. Piet Mondrian used red with other colors to create a universal harmony of line and color. Similarly, artists in this exhibition like Zaida del Río and Osy Milian use red as an accent in their works to create balance. Red is used to draw attention to certain elements without overwhelming the entire composition.

Artists have used red’s challenging quality to convey political unrest. Andy Warhols’ Red Race Riot (1963) depicts the violence of the civil right movement in Birmingham, Alabama. The entire image is seen through a red wash, immediately creating an intense drama. Duvier del Dago, whose works are the most explicitly political, often used red as the only color in his works, indicative of red’s connotations of unrest.

Finally, red can challenge our vision of the natural world. Like expressionists and symbolists, many artists in this exhibition use red emotionally rather than realistically. Edvard Munch painted his sky an unnatural red in The Scream (1893), conveying the anxiety of the end of the century. Paul Gaugin uses a red background in The Vision of the Sermon (1888) to emphasize the dream-like quality of the vision. The Cuban artists Ernesto García Peña, Alicia Leal and Pedro Pablo Oliva all use red to a similar effect. They create a dream-like ‘unreality’, where red is more than just a color, it is a feeling.

Artists in this exhibition envision red in varying ways: as the dominant trait of a painting or as an accent to draw attention to a work’s focal point. They paint lustful lips, fiery hair and crimson skies. Each artist uses red to enhance the work’s story, recalling a passion that is both artistic and Cuban. While each artist is firmly influenced by their Cuban heritage, their dynamic use of this vibrant color is part of greater artistic narrative. They speak to an increasingly globalized world in the most universal of languages.

De Giorgi asks: ‘Imagine walking into the gallery and seeing only red; red works and red emotions. In red my eyes have seen love, tension and harmony. What do you see?’

Carlos Quintana - KONTEMPLATION

Carlos Quintana – CONTEMPLATION –

Carlos Quintana: Contemplation as a synthesis of Santería and Buddhism

Carlos Quintana is one of the most internationally renowned Cuban contemporary artists. His work is influenced by many cultural influences, both of his home country and from his living and traveling abroad

Carlos Quintana - CONTEMPLATION

Carlos Quintana: Contemplation as a synthesis of Santería and Buddhism

The figures and portraits of Quintana have in common a self-contained attitude: the distance, emotionless facial expressions and the barely comprehensible gaze, which characterize the figures of Carlos Quintana, testify to a kind of introversion or rather to contemplation. They are focused on something that seems to be outside of the visible or internally. The figures are often depicted against a contrasting colored background and without a concrete environment: whatever is not relevant for the “contemplation” (the title of the exhibition) is consequently left out by the artist. Much of these artworks remain implicitly, “unfinished” and thus develop a peculiar force, as it stimulates thought and imagination – thus animating the audience to continue the process of contemplation initiated by the artist into and for himself.

About the Artist

Carlos Quintana was born in 1966 in Havana. As a young painter and autodidact, he came into contact with contemporary Cuban artists and from then on took part in exhibitions. In 1993 he emigrated to Spain and stayed abroad for more than 10 years. He traveled widely and exhibited in Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States, among others. During his travels and exhibitions, he consolidated his work, which became increasingly independent and finally earned him international recognition. Since 2006 he lives in Cuba again, but he travels all over the world. Meanwhile, he has become one of the internationally most recognized Cuban contemporary artists.

More About the Artist

Purchase works from Carlos Quintana online on Artsy


Osy Milian – FRAGMENTS –

Osy Milián  (*1992, Havanna) studied Art at the  San Alejandro Art Academy and at the  Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, where she lives and works today.

To fragment means to break something into small parts. In the exhibition FRAGMENTS the artists uses this fragmentation as art form, enabling her to reflect her own life and individual experiences in dialogue with the public.


bitcoin accepted here - btc -

ArteMorfosis Now Accepting bitcoins – btc –

ArteMorfosis is now accepting bitcoin

With the bitcoin rising in value, it is increasingly interesting to purchase art with your bitcoins, cash in on the achieved gains and spread the investment risks on unrelated investment opportunities.

bitcoin accepted here - btc -

From an investment point of view, Cuban art is interesting, since it is systematically undervalued. The art-prices any given artist can achieve depends mainly on his home-market, which drives the general value of artists. The Cubans adore their painters, but they mostly do not have incomes allowing for purchase or collecting of original paintings, rather they by prints and frame these. This has kept the valuation of contemporary Cuban artist at vary affordable values. With the increasing international interest for Cuban art, these paintings will unlikely decreasing in value, the opposite should rather hold true.

For a gallery specialised in Cuban art we like to point out, that our collectors primarily purchase art from Cuban painters because of the aesthetic and artistic value of the works – The internationally very competitive prices are generally just a welcomed side effect.

For all purchases in the gallery, we are now accepting bitcoin and all other crypto-currencies support by coinbase. As purchase price in your chosen crypto currency, we apply the current rate as published on coinbase at the time of purchase.