The exhibition’s title, Dreaming in Cuban, comes from a 1993 novel by author Cristina García of the same name, that depicts the experiences of three generations of restless yet visionary del Pino women navigating their passionate spirits in a rapidly changing physical and political landscape.
Just as García brings the simmering passions of Cuba and its characters to surface, Shih’s photographic series, titled La Habana In Waiting, explores the Cuban citizens’ unwritten tensions as they sit for Shih’s lens.
Shih’s exhibition asks both himself and viewers a series of questions about the nature of representation, and how our imagination influences that representation.
The film footage found in his exhibition feature actors with no scripts and no direction–they exist in a kind of temporal limbo, captured in a film still.
“I greeted and shook hands with each sitter but I was more interested in the process. We were both inquisitive of the other, wondering what exactly we were doing together.” Shih writes so on his tourist identity in Cuba.
Quentin Shih is recognized internationally for his theatrical, large format photographs, which are subject to a rigorous composition and complex post-production process.
His worldwide breakthrough came in 2008 with his series Stranger In The Glass Box, which involved a collaboration with Christian Dior.
Shih placed Dior-dressed fashion models were sealed in glass boxes, inspected by small groups of identically-dressed Chinese bystanders. The models resembled stereotyped characters from Communist propaganda posters, and were photographed against the backdrop of industrial settings in northern China.
An opening reception for Dreaming in Cuban will be held on September 16 from 6 to 10 p.m. Dreaming in Cuban can be viewed Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through November 10.