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Viviane Sassen begeistert seit Jahren die Modefotowelt. Auch sie arbeitet in erster Linie mit dem menschlichen Körper, etwa indem...


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Body Performance - Ausstellung der Helmut Newton Stiftung - Teil 1

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  |  21. June 2015

CUBA'S GAUDI

José Fuster – sculptor, painter and ceramic artist

José Fuster is internationally known for his naïve paintings. The fact that he has embellished a whole district in Havana is probably less known. Since 1980, José Fuster lives by the sea in Jaimanitas. The 68-year-old cannot even imagine a life away from the sea. He’s got saltwater in his veins, he likes to joke. Today, his former wooden house is unrecognizable - a large stone villa on four floors with a swimming pool in the middle. The lively Cuban has designed the house walls, roofs, benches and even the swimming pool with colorful mosaics. Ceramic sculptures decorate the various terraces and roofs. Fuster especially uses mermaids, fish, palm trees, cocks and Santería saints as symbols.

However, Cuba's Gaudí has not only transformed his own house. More than 200 house facades in his residential areas are now decorated with colorful tiles and much color. In honor of Gaudí, Fuster constructed a wide bank with a crab on a street corner of Jaimanitas. “Homenaje a Gaudí” (Homage to Gaudí) is written there on tiled letters. Jaimanitas, also called "Fusterlandia", is now a tourist attraction. Hardly a day goes by without foreign visitors going through Fuster’s colorful house. As a souvenir, tourists can buy ceramics, paintings, illustrated books, shirts, calendars or art postcards.

José Fuster grew up in the small fishing village of Caibarién, on the South coast of Cuba. His father was a carpenter and his brother, with whom he often went fishing, a fisherman. This affected him early. At the age of 14, Fuster already worked voluntarily to improve literacy of the poor rural population, which was launched by Fidel Castro after the Cuban Revolution in 1959.  Between 1963 and 1965, he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Instructores de Arte in Havana. The artist Antoni Gaudí greatly inspired him. On a trip to Europe, Fuster visited Parque Güell in Barcelona. It was created by his great role model Antoni Gaudí, the force behind the creation of "Fusterlandia" in Havana.

José Fuster has presented his paintings and ceramics in more than 100 solo exhibitions all over the world, also in Hamburg in 2007. He has been having a major future project in mind for years now: a cultural center on the sea promenade Malécon in Havana, which pays tribute to the tile in Cuban art.

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