Discover the fascinating career of Wifredo Lam, one of the most iconic Cuban artists of the twentieth-century
Wifredo Lam’s distinctive style shook the assumptions of western Modernism. His distinctive paintings introduced the symbolism of his Cuban roots and defined a new way of painting for a post-colonial world. As he travelled in Europe and North and South America, he was a witness to twentieth century political upheaval – including the Spanish Civil War, the evacuation of artists and intellectuals from France with the onset of World War II, and the new Cuba borne of the Revolution.
Born in Cuba in 1902, Lam’s mother was of Spanish and African heritage, and his father was Cantonese Chinese. After eighteen years in Europe, Lam returned to Cuba and rediscovered the local African traditions that transformed his work. Closely connected to movements such as Cubism and Surrealism and artists and writers such as Pablo Picasso, André Breton, Asger Jorn, Lucio Fontana and Aimé Césaire, his unique work spans continents and traditions.
Throughout his long career, his work addressed themes of social injustice, nature and spirituality, that challenged prevailing attitudes held by western artists about other cultures.
His work continues to bring a historical perspective to contemporary issues. This exhibition celebrates Lam’s life and work and confirms his place at the centre of global art history.
Wifredo Óscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla (Chinese: 林飛龍; Jyutping: lam4 fei1lung4; December 8, 1902 – September 11, 1982), better known as Wifredo Lam, was a Cuban artist who sought to portray and revive the enduring Afro-Cuban spirit and culture. Inspired by and in contact with some of the most renowned artists of the 20th century, Lam melded his influences and created a unique style, which was ultimately characterized by the prominence of hybrid figures. Though he was predominantly a painter, he also worked with sculpture, ceramics and printmaking in his later life.
Exhibition organised by the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris, in collaboration with Tate Modern, London, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
Anyone with even the vaguest interest in modern art will leave this exhibition feeling thoroughly bewitched