In Milena’s paintings, the city revolves. There, in that little world that the artist recreates, Havana shows it face, retouched and perverse, with the loud and discordant murmuring of incomprehensible streets, and the “look” between picturesque and terrible of the urban fauna, tingling through life.
Is sweet and though Milena’s Havana. Space of surprising paradoxes, of pristine and seductive scenographic, where behind the apparent joviality of the cuban people, you can smell the daily wheeling and dealing, exposed in gestures and argot. Her images reclaim the dynamism and the vitality of a perfectly constructed world gifted with plastic autonomy, but at the same time close to a story teller’s vignettes, that out of their obscene artifice becoming alive and moving from one place to another.
“Costumbrismo” with a “naive” execution, can be one of the possible classification that identify this proposal. The complacent and “primitive” image, lighten Milena’s paintings, ingenuous delivering what is “expected” from the south’s art. But wait, without rejection to what it is presented and what seems apparent, this “ingenue vision” is what is granting the special manneristic role.
The style sweetens and the same time intensifies the paradoxes and the contradictions of the most supreme references: The urban jungle that is Havana. It refrains to the misleading disproportion of its excessive happiness. Delivering with sadistic erotism in formats and rhetorical games, whispering in our ears : “I’m what you want”.
This paintings claims the street, the park, the square, a place when they can announce themselves with its own contagious preaching. Because of that, when Milena sees the path she had to choose the organic place where her art belongs.
As a sign of being cuban, from today, of course, the work of this Havanera girl is a hybrid (because it transgress barriers between high and popular culture) carnivalesque, romanticism and cynical at the same time, sweetly ironic always. Expression of a moving subjectivity, bargaining from the present and projecting (easy?) to the future.
Guadalupe Alvarez, june 1995
Comments on the catalog for the exhibition: “Como en casa” (Like home) Havana, Cuba 1995