Viggo Mortensen: "Governments ought to leave art in peace". The actor presents in Torrevieja a book about Cuban art published by his publishing house.
Sergio Illescas, Alicante
Just like the character that he gave life to in The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn, the actor Viggo Mortensen has kept for the Spanish public some mysteries regarding his life. Because, as well as being an actor, he exploits his artistic aptitudes with his painting, photography, jazz and poetry... Yesterday, in Torrevieja, he presented an anthology of critical texts on new Cuban art that his publishing house Perceval Press published together with the Municipal Institute of Culture of the town in the province of Alicante. Few of us in this country knew of his multiple artistic facets beyond those carried out for the film industry, and even less so that of publisher.
"Well, in this book, which is called The new Cuban art: anthology of critical texts, we have collected, as the name indicates, various texts by Cuban writers and artists, as well as various photographs of the island that various authors have contributed."
In a regime like the Cuban one it can not be easy for a North American team to develop something like this. "Yes, in fact many of these texts have only been published once or they have been censured for years because they went against the Castro regime. Governments ought to leave in peace these areas in order for there to be freedom to exchange ideas between countries. I know that my country, USA has, in the last 50 years, set out to provoke the Cuban regime quite enough. However, you must also take into consideration the censure and control tactics to which the Cuban citizens are subject."
Surely it has been worth it. Undoubtedly. "We have centred on the Cuban art of the years between 1980 and 2000 and, no doubt, is the best that has been written just lately about art in South America. It has all been thanks to Kevin Power and Magaly Espinosa, two fairly important experts on Cuba, who have taken care of making the selection.
It is sad that all this does not easily reach the USA. "Maybe it is easier in Spain to get to know Cuban art. There are exhibition constantly. Cuban art reaches my country but not so much. With Perceval Press, my publishing house, we are preparing a publication dedicated to Henry Eric, a very talented Cuban artist. We want to do it in a bilingual edition, so that it also reaches the USA. With the one we have presented we want to do the same thing, but we will have to wait a year because it is longer and the work will be more costly".
There must also be some of your work to be published by the publishing house. "Yes. I'm preparing a new book with photos of mine and some texts in English and Spanish. We are also going to try to launch some Cuban and New Zealand artists. From Perceval Press we like to promote emerging talents. Finding them and helping them is something that is always worthwhile".
On Friday you received the gold badges of the Town and Province of León after playing the role of "Alatriste", the Agustín Díaz Llanes (sic) film. Having heard all kinds of opinions on the film, you seem satisfied with the result. "The film has worked well at the Spanish box office. Obviously your work is not always going to be to everyone's taste. I think it is a film that is very important for Spanish cinema and a great representative outside Spain. Tomorrow - today for the reader - I'm going with the team to present it at the Rome Festival, where I hope it will have a good reception".
The problem is that it is out of the run for the Oscars. "I wish it could have taken part. But if that's not possible, it's not important. Above all it is a film that I'm sure that people will continue to watch as time goes by. I think it is one of those films that make film history in a country".