Coco Fusco (USA)

Musée National du Mali

La Confesión, (2015)

Since the late 1980s, Coco Fusco has analysed his- tories of political conflict through an intertwined practice of writing and art making. Spanning performance, installation, and video, her work is characterised by its formal and conceptual attempts to transgress and reimagine frontiers between art and life. This engagement is evidenced in her 30-minute film-essay La Confesión, which probes the complexities of publicly expressing political views in Cuba from the 1950s revolution to the present.

Divided into several chapters, the film is inspired by the work of Cuban poet Heberto Padilla (1932 – 2000). Padilla’s dissident response to the Cuban government during the 1960s resulted in his arrest, interrogation, and, subsequently, a humiliating-though-ironic public confession of his activities as a counterrevolutionary. Fusco’s film

presents a wealth of archival documentation, poetry excerpts, sound recordings, and original imagery that she weaves together with footage of sites relevant to Padilla’s confession : rows of wicker chairs in the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba where Padilla acknowledged his misdeeds on April 5, 1971, and the crimson interiors and turquoise façade of the infamous Hotel Habana Riviera known for staging political debate.

Described in the film as “Cuba’s most famous study in the abasement of its creative minds,” Padilla’s 4,000-word typewritten confession elicited fervent debate among international intellectuals, and re- mains a fertile exemplar for historicising contem- porary forms of state censorship. While Padilla’s experience permeates La Confesión, the film’s attention to other Cuban artists including the provocative painter Antonia Eiríz (1929 – 1995), and the outspoken contemporary performance artist and poet Amaury Pacheco del Monte (1969 –) elaborates the convolving of creative expression, nationalism and politics in Cuba since the Revolution.

Born in 1960 in New York City, United States –
Lives in New York City

Institut Français
Ministère de la Culture de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme du Mali