María Magdalena Campos-Pons Everything Is Separated by Water Okwui Enwezor, Lisa D. Freiman

Publication date:
28 Feb 2007
Yale University Press
184 pages: 298 x 248mm
7 b-w + 58 color illus.
Sales territories:


A stunning mid-career retrospective of an important and influential contemporary Afro-Cuban artist

With a diverse oeuvre ranging from painting to mixed-media installations to performance, video, and photography, María Magdalena Campos-Pons is one of the most significant artists to emerge from post-Revolutionary Cuba. Her evocative works probe questions of race, class, cultural hybridism, and national identities in African diasporic communities. María Magdalena Campos-Pons: Everything Is Separated by Water is the first full-scale survey of the artist’s career. The title, borrowed from one of her works, evokes at once the dangerous sea crossings faced by her enslaved ancestors from Africa and her Cuban contemporaries seeking greater freedom in America, and the sense of dislocation felt when physical and geopolitical barriers divide family and friends, past and future. Lisa D. Freiman considers how Campos-Pons’s practice, which is predicated on concepts of separation, memory, and fragmentation, developed and transformed from her artistic training and early production in Cuba in the 1980s through her move to the United States in 1991 and her subsequent recognition as a major figure in the international art world. Okwui Enwezor interprets Campos-Pons’s expressive materials--reassembled fragments of lost traditions and symbols, and memories of personal and collective history, religion, and mythology--within the context of post-colonial theory. Handsomely designed and produced, this book offers an unprecedented opportunity to assess the significance and import of this challenging artist’s work.

Lisa D. Freiman is curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Okwui Enwezor is Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice President at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is author of Reading the Contemporary: African Art, from Theory to the Marketplace.

"Campos-Pon's book . . . addresses essential conditions of Cubans and their lives within and outside Cuba. . . . This exhibition catalog . . . documents her diverse production?painting, photographs, installations, and video and film performances?that, at its core, addresses the themes of dislocation, identity, memory, and history. . . . The book is lavishly illustrated with her work and important references. Recommended."?Choice