Luciano Méndez, the Art of Living with Art
By: Mercy Ramos Photos: José (Tito) Meriño and courtesy of the interviewer
Art is the projection of the inherent beauty of human creation through time, in any of its facets (as artist, collector or simple spectator,) Luciano Méndez said in an interview with CubaPlus magazine.
Méndez, who has worked in Cuba for 12 years as a representative of the Spanish bank Sabadell, explained that when he came to the Island in 2004 he was interested in acquiring the works of Cuban artists to decorate his office at the bank as well as the apartment in which he lived.
“I discovered there was a boom in high quality art here. It was exciting for me and it had such an impact that I continued acquiring pieces and became a collector.”
“After acquiring a significant number of pieces for the office and my home I started thinking as a collector and found great satisfaction combining my collection with contemporary Cuban art.”
Today Méndez has one of the largest collections of Cuban contemporary art, with about 300 pieces from 50 Cuban artists who live in the country. His collection features work by established artists, some who have received national awards, as well as young artists. Roberto Fabelo, Manuel Mendive, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Alfredo Sosabravo, Moses Finalé, Luis Camejo, Juan Roberto Diago, Kcho, Rigoberto Mena, Ernesto Rancaño, Ania Toledo, Gabriel and Leticia Sánchez Toledo, Mabel Poblet, Eduardo Méndez Navarro, Jorge Otero and Elizabet Cerviño, are part of the group of artists whose pieces make up the collection.
“I want my collection to represent art being created in Cuba today, be it with fabric, cardboard, watercolor, sculpture and photography,” he said.
This banker by profession is passionate about art. When he speaks on the subject he projects an enthusiasm like that of a child describing his most precious toy. “What brought me to collect Cuban art is its great quality and versatility. It covers such a wide scope, both figurative and conceptual, which allows for many tastes to be satisfied,” he added.
“My love of art goes beyond my personal satisfaction,” he said. “That’s why I don’t just have the collection to display at home and at the office. I wanted to share it with people and on the advice of Cuban photographer and filmmaker Roberto Chile, I was able to hold three exhibitions at the José Martí Memorial in Havana for three consecutive years where I showed fifty-one pieces by thirty-two artists.
“I predict tremendous success for Cuban art, and we can see this as it is already recognized by galleries as well as international collectors.